Count former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates among those who are big fans of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Gates, a five-time All-Pro selection and eight-time Pro Bowler, stated that Kelce has worked his way into the conversation of greatest tight end of all time.
“From a standpoint of accomplishments, he has (passed everybody else),” Gates said. “I think he’s always been a pure talent in everybody’s eyes, and then you start tallying up those Super Bowl championships, it’s hard to argue (against) him in (the GOAT) conversation.
“I like to paint the picture with a 4×1 team where they pass the baton. At one point, I had it, somebody else had it, (Rob Gronkowski) had it, now Kelce has it. And he’s coming home with it.”
Kelce, a seven-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler, ranks fourth among tight ends in NFL history in receptions (814) and receiving yards (10,344), sixth in touchdowns (69) and first in yards per game (71.8).
Kelce became the fastest tight end to reach 10,000 yards and 800 receptions, and he owns the NFL record for most consecutive 1,000-yard seasons by a tight end (seven). He needs 141 receptions and 1,497 yards to pass Gates for third all-time in both categories.
However, Kelce is 47 touchdowns behind Gates, who has the most touchdown receptions in NFL history among tight ends (116).
At his current 90-reception, 1,149 yard-yard, 7.6-touchdown per season pace, it would take Kelce a little over five and a half seasons to break Tony Gonzalez’s record for career receptions.
A little over four seasons to break Gonzalez’s record for career yards and a little over six seasons to catch Gates’ touchdown record. Only eight tight ends in NFL history have won more Super Bowls than Kelce, and just two — Gronkowski (four) and Shannon Sharpe (three) — have a resume that comes close to matching Kelce’s