While NFL receiving leader and Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce continues to set the league ablaze, Dave Portnoy is again attempting to set fire to the superstar’s credentials — which now include his team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year honor.
During Barstool Sports’ Week 14 edition of the Pro Football Football Show on Sunday, Portnoy and co-hosts Dan “Big Cat” Katz, Kayce Smith and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders debated Kelce’s place among the game’s greatest tight ends.
Portnoy Unleashes on ‘Try-Hard’ Tight End
Instead of giving his ranking, Portnoy took the conversation in a different direction, taking issue with frequent comparisons between Kelce and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ex-New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski.
“Where do you rate him in douchebags,” Portnoy asked. “He’s the worst. Have you ever watched his TV show, which sucked? Have you ever seen the way he talks? Chasing Kelce, or whatever that was called. Did you watch that, Deion?
“He’s a try-hard. He’s a fake Gronk,” Portnoy continued, though he later acknowledged that he’s never met Kelce personally and deems him to be “a very good player.”
Sanders was quick to push back on Portnoy, coming to Kelce’s defense, saying, “He’s a dog on the field, he’s a great player, he’s a great guy off the field.”
Here is a clip of the full exchange:
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Not Portnoy’s First Time Ripping Kelce
When Portnoy holds this much animosity toward someone or something, it’s typically not a one-and-done endeavor. So it makes sense that the media mogul has previously ripped the Chiefs star, including this eerily similar commentary during an October 2017 Barstool Radio appearance.
“I also hate Travis Kelce,” Portnoy said at the time. “He may be my least favorite player in the NFL. I f****** hate that guy.
“Then people are like he’s a Gronk. He’s not a Gronk. Gronk is — I don’t love the people who hang out with Gronk, like his crew sometimes. The other Gronks are a little much. Gronk, though, is like a meathead. He’s never put on an act. He’s been that way, like if you go watch him in high school he’s doing the same s***. Kelce is a fraud. Kelce is such a try — even that dance, you can see his eyes. He’s looking at the camera.”
To his credit, Portnoy has maintained that the two-time All-Pro and Super Bowl LIV champion is a talented player, but that is easily lost in his train of other Kelce-related toxicity.
“He’s a very good player. He’s a great player,” said Portnoy during the 2017 radio appearance. “But he’s just the biggest try-hard f****** piece of s***. Like every play he’s doing something. … Every f****** play he has to like go make it about him. If you like Travis Kelce, then you’re a scumbag.”
ESPN Analyst: Kelce Is the Best Non-QB in Football
Not to get lost in the shuffle, the Chiefs eighth-year tight end is closing in on NFL history with three regular season games left to play — achievements not even Gronkowski accomplished in his prime.
After posting at least 8 catches and 100 yards in five of Kansas City’s last six games, Kelce now leads all NFL receivers in yards (1,250), a category no tight end has ever led the league in by season’s end. The 31-year-old is also now 128 yards away from topping George Kittle’s single-season tight end receiving record (1,377) set in 2018.
In a recent interview with the Dan Patrick Show, ESPN analyst and retired 12-year NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky even went as far as to say that Kelce is currently the “best player in football that’s not a quarterback.”
Like Portnoy, Orlovsky also maintains that Gronkowski is still the all-time best at the position, but he did confirm that he foresees Kelce leapfrogging the three-time Super Bowl champion if the Chiefs continue their dominant run over the next five seasons.
“Gronk is the greatest tight end of all time and Gronk is the first guy that did this stuff,” Orlovsky told Patrick on December 3. “Like Gronk is the first guy that did all this for [Tom] Brady. I know he was probably more impactful in the run game. I’m not a person who looks at that stuff. At the end of the day, does my offense score a lot of points and does this guy help us do it? So that’s why I think Kelce’s got a chance to do that.”
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!