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Chiefs' Reid, Kelce not contemplating retirement any time soon

Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce - The Canadian Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs coach Andy Reid doesn't sound as if he's ready to follow Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll into the next phase of his career.

Nor does Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, for that matter.

After the announcement Thursday that Belichick was out as the coach of New England after 24 seasons, and news the previous day that Carroll was stepping down as the coach in Seattle, the spotlight naturally turned to the 65-year-old Reid, who had to clap back at rumors about his retirement in the days before leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowl last season.

“I haven't even thought about that," Reid said Thursday after the Chiefs concluded their final practice ahead of Saturday night's wild-card playoff game against the Miami Dolphins. “I figured that would come up as you were asking me these questions (about Belichick and Carroll) because I'm old, but I'm not that old.”

The 71-year-old Belichick needs 15 wins to surpass Don Shula's record of 347 in the regular season and the playoffs, and he has plenty of options if he wants to pursue them elsewhere. The Raiders and Chargers, two of the Chiefs' biggest rivals in the AFC West, are looking for coaches, along with the Seahawks, Panthers, Falcons, Commanders and Titans.

Reid has 280 wins for fourth on the career list, but he is picking them up fast in Kansas City, where he's won at least 11 regular-season games in 10 of his 11 seasons. He's already the career wins leader for the Eagles and Chiefs — no other coach holds such a distinction with two different franchises — and his two Super Bowl titles are tied for the fifth-most in NFL history.

Reid will be chasing his 23rd playoff win Saturday night; Belichick holds the NFL record with 31 of them.

Kelce has been around for a lot of them. He arrived in Kansas City in 2013, the same year as Reid, and after missing most of his rookie season to injury has put together one of the greatest runs by a tight end in NFL history.

He's been voted an All-Pro four times. He's been picked to the Pro Bowl nine times. He's set, or is close to setting, just about every franchise record for a pass-catcher, even though he is not a wide receiver.

And despite turning 34 in October, Kelce still caught 93 passes for 984 yards and five touchdowns while helping the Chiefs win an eighth straight AFC West title.

Kelce has broached the topic of retirement in the past. But he said Thursday that he still loves playing the game, and that all of his outside pursuits — his relationship with pop megastar Taylor Swift, his successful podcast with his brother and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce, his endorsements and TV work — can continue to coexist alongside his football career.

“You guys don't think about retirement? Am I the only one in this boat?” he asked. "Whoever is not thinking about stuff down the road, I blame you. But I have no reason to stop playing football, man. I love it. We're still having success, coming in with the right mindset, and I just love the challenge it gives me every single day to keep being my best.

“I have no desire to stop any time soon,” Kelce said.

Has he pondered what the future holds whenever that time comes?

“That's the point of the offseason,” Kelce replied, "being able to get out there and find what you really love to do. I've been fortunate to do a few things outside the sports world that I enjoy doing — being on camera, the (Saturday Night Live) stuff. It opened up some new happiness and a new career path for me.

“It's funny to even say that at this point in my career,” he added, “because it's so much further down the road.”

More immediately, Kelce and the Chiefs are focused on playing the Dolphins in the wild-card round of the playoffs. It's their 14th consecutive home playoff game, and a rematch of a game won by Kansas City in November in Frankfurt, Germany.

“At this point," Kelce said, “you know you have a special team. You've gone through the ups and downs of the season. You find yourself sitting in the playoffs. And anything can happen in the dance.”