Travis Kelce says he ‘loves’ Cincinnati, heaps praise on the Bengals

The Chiefs tight end and UC alum dished on Joe Burrow, Aftab and his respect for the 2022 Bengals.
FILE - Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce smiles before the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game...
FILE - Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce smiles before the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs in Miami Gardens Fla., in this Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, file photo. Seattle's star quarterback Russell Wilson and Kansas City's standout tight end Travis Kelce are among the 32 finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)(Wilfredo Lee | AP)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:17 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Can Travis Kelce ever set foot in Cincinnati again? He hopes so.

The Kansas City Chiefs tight end, a veritable walking soundbite, said Wednesday his time in the Queen City was “a huge point” in his life.

The brothers Kelce, both University of Cincinnati alums, touched on that topic and more in an expansive episode of their “New Heights” podcast posted Wednesday.

Bengals fans still sore at Travis over (*gestures broadly*) last weekend will get a kick out of his humor, self-awareness, humility and praise for the Bengals.

About an hour in, Jason Kelce, who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles, asked tongue-in-cheek whether he and Travis are “banned” from the Queen City. “Can we go back to our alma mater?”

Travis answered, “I hope not dude. I’m repping it hard all the time, man. That was a huge point in my life.” Jason then mentioned the Bearcats pullover Travis had worn during the podcast recording. Said Travis, “It felt fitting to show the ‘Nati some love, to show them... I was in your back yard for five years!”

The brothers have only gained popularity since they graduated from UC—Jason in 2010 and Travis in 2012. They each spent five years in Clifton, and Travis has been known to wear Bearcats gear at publicized events and to cheer for UC on social media.

“We got a lot of love for Cincinnati,” Jason said.

RELATED | Bearcats alum Travis Kelce pledges ‘transformational’ gift to university

On the Bengals

Travis heaped praise on the Bengals for their showing in Kansas City. “I got a lot of respect for all these guys,” he said.

Particularly so for the Bengals’ signal caller: “I got all the respect in the world for Joe Burrow. Another Ohio guy.”

(The Kelces grew up in Westlake, outside Cleveland.)

“I don’t want this to get away from how much I respect the Bengals, the coaches, the players on that team. That offense is unbelievable. Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins... All those guys across the board on that side are spectacular. They all could be Pro Bowlers,” Travis said.

“And at the same time, the defense... I don’t know if I’ve played a defense that plays more together than that team. They all know their role. They absolutely play their gaps. They play their zones. They communicate well. They tackle well as a team. It’s hard to find a weakness when you’re playing them.”

Travis said he got to shake Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s hand after the game to tell him how much he respected him.

Said Jason, “Those guys are good. They had a great year. All the trash talk aside, it seems like they got a bright future.”

On the officiating

“They’ve been against us before, so if it’s our turn to finally get the officials on our side, thank you!” Travis said. “I’ve been through my ups and downs with them.”

On Aftab’s blunder

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval went viral (in a bad way) before the Bengals-Chiefs AFC Championship Game for video he posted of him reading aloud a fairly cringy written proclamation.

After the Chiefs won, Travis took the midfield podium and issued some choice comments for Pureval. “Know your role and shut yo’ mouth, you jabroni.”

Travis said Wednesday the mayor’s video juiced him up more than any trash talk from the likes of Bengals cornerback (and noted Twitter provocateur) Eli Apple, whom he later said is “a cool cat” and “actually funny.”

Said Travis of Purevel’s video: “As if we didn’t already have enough ammo[...] All it did was make us locked in that much more and give us that much more energy to come out.”

Pureval acknowledged after the game he “deserved” the shade. He also took his lumps in a Cincinnati Enquirer story.

Travis learned as much Wednesday and said jovially, “Now I respect him! He can have fun! Good sport.”

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