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Travis Kelce Explains Why Harrison Butker May Not Be Doing Kickoffs for the Chiefs

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Travis Kelce Explains Why Harrison Butker May Not Be Doing Kickoffs for the Chiefs
Travis Kelce, Austin Butker. Getty Images(2)

Harrison Butker might have a new role for the Kansas City Chiefs when the NFL season kicks off in the fall — but it’s probably not for the reasons you think. 

On the Wednesday, June 5 episode of his podcast, “New Heights,” Travis Kelce explained why the Chiefs are considering morphing the role of Butker, 28, given the new NFL kickoff rules that were announced in March. 

“Obviously it’s not because Harrison can’t do it,” Travis, 34, explained. “He’s one of the best guys in the league at doing it. He’s got one of the best legs in the Game. He typically kicks it into the stands, through the end zone when he does kick off.”

Per the new rules, every player on the kicking team, other than the kicker, will now line up with at least one foot on the returning team’s 40-yard line. At least nine members of the returning team will line up in a “setup zone” beginning five yards opposite on its own 35-yard line stretching to the team’s 30-yard line. 

Travis Kelce Explains Why Harrison Butker May Not Be Doing Kickoffs for the Chiefs
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Two returners will be permitted in the “landing zone,” the area between the goal line and the 20-yard line.

In essence, the new rules are aimed at kickoff returns becoming a more prominent part of the Game again, which also means kickers potentially becoming more involved in tackling. 

As Travis explained, the Chiefs “don’t want Butker in those situations.”

Instead, Travis said the Chiefs are considering using safety Justin Reid on kickoffs. “He has a great leg,” Travis noted. “And he just so happens to be one of our best tacklers on the team.”

In fact, Reid, 27, made an extra point in a 2022 game against the Arizona Cardinals after Butker was sidelined with an injury. 

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Travis Kelce Explains Why Harrison Butker May Not Be Doing Kickoffs for the Chiefs
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“All of this is aimed at actually making kickoffs meaningful, which I’m a fan of,” Travis’ brother, Jason Kelce, explained on the podcast. “Football is better when special teams matter. The reality is, the old kickoff was not a kickoff. It was a ceremonial boot through the end zone and nobody ever returned anything. I like seeing special teams make an impact in the Game.”

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The potential change in Butker’s role comes on the heels of his commencement address at Benedictine University last month, in which he called on women to embrace the role of “homemaker” and equated Pride Month to “deadly sin,” among other controversial comments. 

After the speech, an online petition to dismiss Butker from the Chiefs received more than 220,000 signatures. 

Despite the outrage and rule change, however, the Chiefs have no announced plans to move on from their star kicker. 

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