Kelce took part Saturday in Jarvis Landry’s charity softball event, playing alongside Mayfield, Odell Beckham and others. In a few months, Kelce will be lined up across from them in an effort to start the season 1-0.
“I would say they’re definitely a contender, without a doubt,” Kelce told reporters when asked about the Browns, per ESPN. “It’s definitely there. Baker and the gang have upped the ante, made this team an unbelievable team and a team you have to prepare for and take serious. I think that moving forward without a doubt I can see a lot more playoff games between us.
“I think the Browns and Chiefs are definitely neck and neck for sure.”
The game will be a rematch of the team’s meeting in the AFC Divisional Round, which the Chiefs squeaked out 22-17.
“It’s impressive to see where they’ve come from and where they are now because it’s a legit contender,” Kelce said, “and every team’s going to have to bring it.”
Browns Trendy Pick for Super Bowl; Chiefs Top Contender
That’s saying quite a bit, with Kelce and Kansas City making it to back-to-back Super Bowls, winning one of those. Perhaps he’s being a little bit optimistic about his hometown squad, but the odds say similar things.
The Browns have become a trendy pick to win the Super Bowl thanks to the nearly unprecedented offseason hype, coming in at +1,600 to win it all, per VegasInsider.com. The Chiefs are the top contender at +500.
“Fans here are talking Super Bowl. Should they be? Why not? It’s something people always say you should not talk about,” Landry said. “But nobody trains like they do or do what they do to not be a champion. That’s the standard.
“We haven’t been there yet, but 32 teams this time of year drafted players and signed free agents to be a championship team. So why not talk about it? It’s real. It’s sick to be humble about what everybody is actually chasing.”
Browns Bulked Up Defense in the Offseason
After a couple of years of making big additions to the offensive side of the ball, the Browns bulked up the defense this offseason with free agent additions like Jadeveon Clowney, John Johnson III and Anthony Walker.
The Browns also focused on defense in the draft, taking cornerback Greg Newsome and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah with their first two picks.
“Cream rises to the top,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I know our team and our veterans are always open to competition. It is what they do every single year. It is what they do every single day. That is how we are going to approach it. To say that these young guys coming in are being given anything, that is not accurate. They have to earn it.”
What should also help the Browns is the consistency with the leadership, entering the second season under Stefanski, the reigning Coach of the Year after leading the Browns to their first playoff victory in more than a quarter-century.