Over 25 million people, as of Monday afternoon, had watched the 17-second clip: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce kicking one football then tossing a couple of others, along with a helmet, as Ravens kicker Justin Tucker looked on before Sunday’s AFC championship game, stretching, a look of bemusement on his face.
On Monday, a day after the Ravens’ 17-10 loss at M&T Bank Stadium, Tucker said at his locker that he found it “kind of silly” to address something that he didn’t really “see as a big deal.” But he also acknowledged that what happened about 80 minutes before kickoff was exactly what it looked like.
Tucker said he’s had the same pregame routine for as long as he’s played in the NFL, 12 years now, which takes him to an opponent’s “designated warm-up area.” On Sunday, that was near one goal line, where Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was also warming up.
Tucker said Mahomes, who was practicing his drop-backs, asked Tucker while he was stretching whether Tucker could move his helmet.
“So I happily got up and I moved my helmet out of the way — at least, I thought it was enough out of the way,” Tucker said.
According to Tucker, that’s when Kelce came over and kicked and tossed his balls and helmet.
“I just thought it was all just some gamesmanship, all in good fun,” Tucker said. “But they seemed to be it taking a little bit more seriously. And I’m totally willing to let it all go. ... It’s not like I’m trying to be problematic. I’m just trying to get ready for the football game, just like they are.”
The Associated Press captured a photo of Kansas City wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling kicking a holder Tucker was using to practice field goals. It’s unclear if it was taken before or after the run-in with Kelce.
Tucker — a noted fan of pop star Taylor Swift, whom Kelce is dating — said he’d “never had an issue with anybody” while stretching before.
“At the end of the day, we’re all professionals just trying to get ready for the football game,” he said. “Those are two of the best players that have ever played the game at their respective positions. They’re just trying to get ready for the football game. Obviously, it’s an intense environment. So it’s really whatever to me. I’m just trying to get ready for the football game.”