In the folkloric story of Travis Kelce’s life and career, one time period stands out. It was the summer of 2010. Kelce had lost his scholarship at Cincinnati after smoking marijuana and failing a drug test. He was living with his older brother, Jason, working for a call center, tasked with asking random people about Obamacare, often enduring scorn from the other end of the phone. At 20 years old, Kelce wondered if his football career was over.
That’s when Kelce, his future hanging in the balance, joined a summer collegiate baseball league. It was a way to stay busy and also a potential Plan B.
As Taylor Swift fans would discover years later while scouring Kelce’s old tweets, there was a time when people in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, viewed baseball as Kelce’s best sport. His father, Ed, loved the game and coached Travis from T-ball on up. And Kelce’s affection for baseball never really faded. Over the yearsDuring that transformative summer of 2010, Kelce joined coach Michael Bricker’s team at Champions Academy in Cincinnati. One evening, former Cincinnati Bearcats baseball coach Brian Cleary ventured to see Kelce — a player he already knew plenty about — in person