KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Travis Kelce spent Friday morning in Hawaii getting ready for his first Pro Bowl, shortly after signing a $46 million, five-year extension that made him one of the NFL’s highest-paid tight ends.
Oh, and he’s about to star in a reality dating show.
"I’m living the dream," Kelce said. "Literally."
Never has a cliche been more appropriate.
The Kansas City Chiefs signed their burgeoning young pass catcher to a deal that includes $20.5 million in guarantees, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Chiefs did not reveal terms of the agreement
"He’s a talented football player that has become an important piece to what we do offensively," general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "Travis is a high-character guy and a leader."
Kelce was entering the final year of his rookie contract. He missed the majority of the 2013 season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee, but has started 27 of the 33 games he’s played over the past three seasons. He’s caught 139 passes for 1,737 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He’s coming off a breakout season that included 72 catches for 875 yards and five touchdowns, and resulted in an 11-5 record and Kansas City’s first playoff victory in 22 years.
"I’m ecstatic. I can’t be more thankful, more happy for the situation I’m in right now," Kelce said. "I love Kansas City to death. I’ve embraced it since I got there. … It’s a blue-collar city just like I grew up in, and I can’t be more thankful how they embraced me as a player."
Kelce had some character questions coming out of Cincinnati, where he was suspended for an entire season for violating team rules. But not only has Kelce steered clear of any trouble with the Chiefs, he has become a locker-room leader and one of the most popular players on the team.
"It’s hard to bring all of this to reality," he said. "With all this comes a lot of responsibility, and I’m just more ready than ever to go out here and be a dominant performer for years to come."
The contract extension takes care of at least one aspect of Kelce’s busy off-season.
After the Pro Bowl, he will star in a reality dating show on E! called "Catching Kelce." While details of the show have been kept under wraps, Kelce’s stab at love is expected to have elements of "The Bachelor" and "Survivor" and involve 50 women vying for his attention. The show is tentatively scheduled to premiere later this year.
"To be honest, I’m just trying to stay focused on signing and keeping everything going in Kansas City. I’d rather not get into the whole TV show," said Kelce, who did say that the scheduling will not interfere with his off-season program or any work with the Chiefs.
"I don’t even want to get into any of that at this point. It’s not on my mind, to be honest," he said. "I’m just trying to get used to the reality that I’m going to be a multimillionaire."