Travis Kelce raises concern as Chris Jones’ holdout nears Week 1

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Travis Kelce made a plea to Chris Jones to return to the Kansas City Chiefs on his latest podcast, saying of his teammate’s decision to hold out, “I just don’t get it.”

“Chris, can you please come back?” Kelce said on the “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce” podcast, which he appears on regularly with his brother, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. “You’re really scaring me, man. I don’t get it. You must know something that I don’t know because I just don’t get it. I really want to get another Super Bowl ring with you, brother. This is me bargaining you to just come back and play football for the Chiefs. Please, we need you. We need you bad, and I don’t know what the situation is.

“He’s just the best defensive player in the league right now. He’s deserving of all the money in the world. Chris, I love you. Please come back now.”

Jones has one season left on the four-year deal he signed with the Chiefs in 2020 but has yet to report as he seeks an improved contract. Jones was to be paid $80 million over the four years, and the $20 million average would make him the ninth-highest-paid defensive tackle this season.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he wouldn’t criticize Jones’ decision.

“Chris has chosen to go this route,” Reid said Friday in his first expansive comments on Jones’ holdout. “Some other guys have chosen to get their deals done and come in and play. I’m not here to criticize one way or the other. We’ve had a lot of success with the guys that we have, and we go with it.

“Other than that, I take the distractions and throw them out the door and let’s get on with what’s real.”

Reid’s comments seem to indicate the Chiefs are preparing to play their season opener Thursday against the Detroit Lions without Jones. This week they traded with the Las Vegas Raiders for defensive tackle Neil Farrell as part of the solution to fill Jones’ spot.

“Chris is a great player,” Reid said. “We’ve got other good players. They’ll have to step their game up to fill the role. … Everybody just has to play their best, and then you work through it. But to think that you’re gonna fill in for Chris, that’s not what you’re doing.”

Reid said Jones probably wouldn’t need much time to prepare to play in a game after he reported.

“One thing about Chris is he keeps himself in good shape,” Reid said. “I haven’t seen him, but I’d anticipate that he’d come back in relatively good shape. … As long as he is physically in good shape, you can kind of start working him in and get him going, then you play it by ear after that and see where he’s at.”

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