Chiefs star Travis Kelce shakes off an ankle injury with a key TD catch after his brief absence

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Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates after catching a 4-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

MINNEAPOLIS – Travis Kelce was hurting at halftime, having limped off the field with an injury to his right ankle and Kansas City in a tied game at Minnesota.

Patrick Mahomes knew better than to bother his close friend and favorite receiver with a question about his status. He also wasn't too worried about Kelce coming back.

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“I feel like Travis has the same mindset I do,” Mahomes said. “If you give him a window to get back in the game, he’s going to be back in the game. Competitor, man. That’s why he’s one of the greatest, that he can battle through stuff like that.”

After missing the better part of two drives, Kelce shook it off and returned in plenty of time to help the Chiefs survive another uneven performance and defeat the Vikings 27-20 on Sunday.

“I have those moments where I’m like, ‘I’m about to get crushed,’ and I look over and ‘87’ is just running free,” Mahomes said. “He’s been with me a long time. He knows how to get himself open whenever he gets an opportunity.”

Kelce caught a short pass in the right flat on second-and-1 when he turned up the field and lost his footing in an awkward fall for no gain late in the second quarter. He jogged off with a noticeable hitch and spent several minutes trying to walk back and forth on the sideline, before limping into a tunnel for further examination. CBS reported on the game broadcast that Kelce went for X-rays on his right foot.

With Kelce watching the first possession of the third quarter from the sideline, Mahomes drove the Chiefs 75 yards in 11 plays for the tiebreaking touchdown pass to Rashee Rice.

“He just said, ‘Give me a minute. Let me see what I can do here,’" coach Andy Reid said.

Kelce was back in on the next drive and sure made his presence was felt — with five catches on a 74-yard, 11-play march. He caught a third-and-7 pass for 14 yards in tight coverage at the Kansas City 43. Then on second-and-goal from the 4, Kelce found a spot in the zone as he does so well and darted across the goal line after the clean grab to give the Chiefs a 27-13 lead.

“I’m glad that he was able to come back on the field and join us, but he did what Travis does,” said defensive end Chris Jones.

The four-time All-Pro has had a wild few weeks. His rumored girlfriend Taylor Swift made headlines when she showed up for the last two Chiefs games, including on the road last week against the New York Jets.

Swift was not at the game in Minnesota. Kelce said this week he was “on top of the world” amid the Swift speculation but said he didn't think the relationship was a distraction.

Kelce, who missed the season opener against Detroit because of a hyperextended knee, finished with 10 catches for 67 yards on 11 targets against the Vikings.

“Pretty tough kid,” Reid said. “He loves to play.”



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