Why Did Travis Kelce Get Suspended?

John Rizzo

Updated on:

Travis Kelce Get Suspended

Travis Kelce’s journey to NFL stardom is marked by both triumphs and challenges, and a pivotal moment in his collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati was his suspension for the entire 2010 season. 

The suspension stemmed from a failed marijuana drug test, a setback that cast a shadow on his promising future. 

In this essay, we will delve into the impact of this suspension on Kelce’s career, examining the positive and negative repercussions, and ultimately exploring how he navigated this adversity to emerge as one of the most dynamic and respected tight ends in the NFL.

Why Did Travis Kelce Get Suspended?

Kelce was suspended for the entire 2010 season by the Bearcats’ head coach Butch Jones for violating team rules. 

Although the exact reason for the suspension was not officially disclosed, it was widely reported that Kelce failed a drug test and tested positive for marijuana.

Kelce later admitted that he made a mistake and learned from it. He said that the suspension was a wake-up call for him and that he realized he had to change his attitude and behavior if he wanted to succeed in football. 

He also credited his older brother Jason, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, for helping him through the tough time and giving him advice.

Kelce returned to the team in 2011 and had a breakout season, catching 13 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. 

He also played some snaps as a wildcat quarterback, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. 

He continued to improve in his senior year, leading the team with 45 receptions for 722 yards and eight touchdowns. 

He also had a memorable 83-yard touchdown catch and run in the Belk Bowl against Duke, which sealed the victory for the Bearcats.

Kelce’s impressive performance in his final two seasons at Cincinnati earned him the attention of NFL scouts and teams. 

He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, with the 63rd overall pick. 

Effects on Travis Kelce’s Career of Being Suspended for Marijuana Drug Test

Effects on Travis Kelce’s Career of Being Suspended for Marijuana Drug Test

Some possible effects on Travis Kelce’s career of being suspended for a marijuana drug test are:

  • He realized that he had to be more disciplined and focused on his football goals. He said, “I partied a little too much there, got hit with a drug test, and from that point on, I realized I gotta tighten the f*** up.”
  • He decided to switch to playing tight end exclusively, instead of alternating between tight end and quarterback. He said, “What [the suspension did was it really kicked me into the tight end room. I was still playing QB then. It was like, ‘Alright, you can come walk on the team, but we don’t need a quarterback. You can just be an athlete on scout team for a year, we’ll figure it out.’”
  • He improved his performance and became a pro prospect at tight end. He had a breakout senior season in 2013, where he recorded 45 receptions for 722 yards and eight touchdowns³. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round in 2013.
  • He avoided any further marijuana-related suspensions in his NFL career. He said that he learned how to pass the NFL’s marijuana tests by stopping smoking in the middle of July². He also said that many NFL players smoke marijuana and that no one is actually punished for it anymore.

What Position Did Travis Kelce Play in High School?

Travis Kelce played multiple positions during his high school football career at Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. 

He was a versatile athlete, showcasing his skills on both sides of the ball. Primarily known for his prowess as a tight end, Kelce’s athleticism and football IQ allowed him to contribute significantly to his team’s success.

As a tight end, Kelce likely played a crucial role in both the passing and running games. Tight ends are known for their ability to catch passes as receivers and block effectively in the running game. 

Given Kelce’s size, speed, and hands, it’s probable that he was a key target for his team’s quarterback in the passing game, providing a reliable option in various situations.

In addition to his role as a tight end, Kelce might have also played on the defensive side of the ball. 

How Travis Kelce Turned Adversity Into Success?

How Travis Kelce Turned Adversity Into Success?

Travis Kelce’s remarkable journey from adversity to success is a narrative that resonates with the spirit of resilience and determination.

From early setbacks to becoming a key figure in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory, Kelce’s story is a testament to the transformative power of perseverance.

Let’s delve into the triumphant moments that Travis Kelce turned adversity into success:

Early Challenges and College Setback

Travis Kelce’s early life in Westlake, Ohio, laid the foundation for his journey. However, his collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati was marked by challenges, including a suspension for violating team rules. 

This section delves into the early adversities that shaped Kelce’s character and set the stage for his transformative journey.

Learning from Adversity

Rather than letting setbacks define him, Kelce used his college suspension as a turning point. 

This heading explores how he embraced the opportunity for personal growth, demonstrating resilience and a willingness to learn from his mistakes. 

Kelce’s ability to turn adversity into a catalyst for positive change became a pivotal theme in his journey.

The Journey to the NFL

The transition from college to the NFL is never seamless. This section outlines Kelce’s entry into the professional football scene, highlighting the challenges he faced as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

It sets the stage for the subsequent sections, showing how he navigated the initial hurdles of his NFL career.

Commitment to Craft and Work Ethics

Kelce’s success didn’t come by chance; it was a result of his unwavering commitment to improvement. 

This heading delves into his work ethic, the hours spent honing his skills, and the dedication that set him apart.

Kelce’s commitment to excellence became a defining factor in his journey toward becoming a dominant force in the NFL.

On-Field Triumphs and Contributions

As Kelce honed his skills, his on-field performances began to reflect his hard work. This section showcases his evolution into a dynamic playmaker and emphasizes his crucial role in the Kansas City Chiefs’ success. 

The synergy between Kelce and quarterback Patrick Mahomes became a highlight of his contributions to the team.

Beyond the Gridiron: Philanthropy and Community Impact

Success extends beyond personal achievements, and Kelce recognized the importance of giving back. 

This heading explores his off-field endeavors, including the establishment of the “87 & Running Foundation.”

It emphasizes how Kelce leveraged his platform to make a positive impact in the community.

Super Bowl Victory and Culmination of Success

A pinnacle moment in Kelce’s journey was the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory in 2020. This section details his instrumental role in achieving this milestone and how it solidified his status as one of the NFL’s premier tight ends. The Super Bowl victory serves as a culmination of Kelce’s hard work and perseverance.

Life Lessons and Inspirations

In the final section, the narrative reflects on the broader lessons derived from Travis Kelce’s journey. 

His story becomes an inspiration for others facing adversity in their pursuits, emphasizing that setbacks can be opportunities for growth and eventual triumph. 

This section ties together the key themes of resilience, determination, and the transformative power of perseverance.


Why was Travis Kelce suspended during his college career?

Travis Kelce was suspended for the entire 2010 season at the University of Cincinnati for violating team rules. The specific violation was a failed marijuana drug test.

What was the reason behind Travis Kelce’s failed drug test?

Kelce’s failed drug test, leading to his suspension, was attributed to testing positive for marijuana. 

This violation of the team’s rules resulted in disciplinary action.

How did Travis Kelce’s suspension impact his college football career?

Kelce’s suspension presented a significant setback to his college football career, forcing him to miss the entire 2010 season. 

This absence had both short-term and long-term implications for his development as a player.

Did Travis Kelce face any consequences beyond the suspension for the failed drug test?

While the suspension itself was a major consequence, it also brought attention to Kelce’s off-field behavior. 

The incident likely prompted personal reflection and contributed to the shaping of his professional approach.

How did Travis Kelce overcome the challenges posed by his suspension?

Despite the setback, Travis Kelce used his suspension as a catalyst for personal growth. 

He learned from the experience, worked to improve both on and off the field and ultimately turned adversity into motivation on his path to becoming a standout NFL player.

To Recap

Travis Kelce’s suspension during his college career serves as a chapter in his journey, illustrating resilience and growth. 

While the failed marijuana drug test cast a shadow on his collegiate years, Kelce transformed adversity into motivation. 

The suspension became a turning point, prompting introspection and a commitment to personal development. 

Kelce emerged from this setback with newfound determination, using the experience to refine both his on-field skills and his character.

His ability to overcome challenges, learn from mistakes, and rise to prominence in the NFL stands as a testament to his tenacity and the transformative power of setbacks in shaping a remarkable career.

Photo of author

John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn