Red Zone

Backup long snapper Travis Kelce struggles

The Kansas City Star

Things got a little ugly in punting drills Friday when the Chiefs’ second team stepped onto the field for its reps at training camp.

Tight end Travis Kelce, who is working as Thomas Gafford’s backup long snapper, misfired on his first three tries.

The first snap was three feet to the right of Dustin Colquitt, the second sailed over Colquitt’s head and the third was wide left. Kelce sent another sailing over Colquitt’s head a few snaps later.

“To be honest, they told me they were either good or bad, but I’ve got to watch the film to see where they all went,” Kelce said when asked to assess his performance. “I need to see the whole technique and how I let it go. Like everything, practice makes perfect, so I just need more reps and reps and reps. I’m pretty sure I’ll get the hang of it.”

Colquitt approached Kelce to offer encouragement after the trying session.

“That last snap was actually really good,” Colquitt said. “It was right in our aiming point, so I just wanted to encourage him on that last one.”

Kelce’s importance is even more crucial with fellow tight end Sean McGrath’s future uncertain. McGrath, who had been the team’s backup long snapper, reported for training camp Wednesday but subsequently left and may be considering retirement.

“(Kelce will) get there,” Colquitt said. “He’ll be all right.”

Kelce’s first varsity play in high school was a long snap to his older brother Jason.

“He was the punter,” Kelce said. “I was a little lenient when he was back there. I didn’t care where it went when he was back there, but now I guess I’ve got to focus in, because Dustin can’t really move.”

Jokes aside, Kelce and the Chiefs hope he’s never called into duty as a long snapper.

“By any means, let Thomas (Gafford) keep that role,” Kelce said. “I’m just here in case something happens.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.