Why a Travis Kelce kind deed has gone viral before Super Bowl: ‘That’s who he is’

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Porter Ellett understands he was hired by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 to do the grunt work.

At the time, Ellett was coach Andy Reid’s “senior assistant to the head coach.” That meant he was doing odd jobs, like planning schedules and meetings while helping at practice wherever needed.

It still meant Ellett mingled with Chiefs players quite a bit. And he’s never forgotten how Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce treated him seven years ago.

Or the gesture he made that sticks with him to this day.

“He’s a phenomenal football player, but he’s that good of a guy as well,” Ellett said Wednesday of Kelce. “His play matches how good of a person he is.”

One story, Ellett says, illustrates that best.

Ellett said he and Kelce instantly connected in 2017 because they loved to talk about shoes. At the time, Nike had just released the “Marty McFly,” a limited-edition, self-lacing sneaker inspired by the movie, “Back to the Future.”

Kelce told Ellett he’d bought a pair of the McFlys, which went for around $15,000. Ellett asked Kelce if he would get Nike’s next version of the self-lacing shoe, which was set to be released a few months later for about $300 each.

Ellett had a specific interest in those because of his circumstances; he had his right arm amputated as a teen after he was thrown from the bed of a pickup truck during a car accident at age 4.

Kelce said he wasn’t sure if he would get the new shoes, before Ellett offered a joke: “Man, those are perfect for me, because with one hand, it’s hard to tie my shoe.”

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A few months later, Ellett failed to secure the new Nike HyperAdapt 1.0s with “Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing” technology. He’d tried to order them online, but the shoes had sold out too quickly.

He told Kelce about his failed attempt, then didn’t think much of it after that.

Until a few weeks later, that is. When Ellett arrived at his locker one morning to get dressed for practice, he discovered a Nike shoe box waiting for him.

Inside was a new pair of Nike HyperAdapts.

“I was just shocked more than anything,” Ellett said.

Without Ellett knowing it, Kelce had gone to the team’s equipment managers to get his shoe size. Then, he’d worked through his personal Nike rep — Kelce was sponsored by the shoe company — to send the self-lacing shoe to the team facility.

Ellett says as far as thoughtfulness, the gift remains “one of the top things I’ve ever gotten.”

“He didn’t really want to make it anything (of it),” Ellett said. “That’s who he is.”

It wasn’t the only time Kelce had impressed Ellett in those early days.

Ellett — now the Chiefs’ assistant running backs coach — said he often threw to the tight ends at practice during drills. His whole life, he’s appreciated when his friends just treated him like one of the guys, so he felt guilty when sensing Chiefs players were going out of their way to help him with practice responsibilities.

Then there was Kelce. While others would carefully toss the ball back to Ellett, Kelce would fire it back like normal. “He’s got it,” Kelce would tell teammates, and sure enough, Ellett would catch it just fine.

“I used to come home and tell my wife that all the time, just how good he is to everybody,” Ellett said. “It’s funny because with one arm, you realize you can judge a person’s character pretty early by how they treat you.”

The two have shared moments since. Ellett says the two will sometimes play “P-I-G” on the hoop in KC’s locker room, with the ultra-competitive Kelce getting upset when he loses.

Kelce’s relationship with Ellett gathered extra publicity this week. That’s because Ellett’s wife, Carlie, posted a TikTok video about the Kelce shoe story that’s been viewed nearly 3 million times.

Carlie intended to support Kelce after seeing some people criticize him for moving Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s helmet and gear on the field before the AFC Championship Game.

“Trav’s done so much good for us that he was kind of getting attacked for no reason,” Porter Ellett said. “So she felt the need to be like, ‘Nah, man. He’s a good dude. You can’t be saying this about Trav.’”

Ellett said he eventually received two pairs of the self-lacing shoes from Kelce. The other was intended as a gift to Andy Reid’s brother, Reggie, who lost the use of an arm in a motorcycle accident; those ended up being too small for Reggie to wear.

The original Kelce-gifted shoes remain in Ellett’s closet. He’s holding them now as a keepsake for his two sons, telling Kelce a few years back, “I gotta tell them the greatest tight end in NFL history gave me a pair of shoes.”

It all makes for a great story — and one that Ellett shares with those who ask about Kelce.

“He’s always been really good to me, as far as just a person,” Ellett said. “So I’ve always been grateful to him.”