Chiefs’ Travis Kelce on Orlando Brown signing with Bengals: ‘It hurts my soul’

In his heart, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce truly is happy for players who left the team because they signed a big free-agent contract elsewhere.

But truth be told, it also stung him when left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. landed a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs have faced the Bengals four times in the past two seasons, including the last two AFC Championship Games, and they’re now big rivals.

That makes Brown’s new mission will be defeating his former teammates.

“It hurts. It hurts my soul, man. Hurts my soul. It’s like watching your best friend just turn evil on you,” Kelce said last week on the “New Heights” podcast he co-hosts with brother Jason, the Eagles center.

Kelce noted the Bengals have won three of those four meetings over the two seasons.

“It’s tough man. Obviously, I mean, the past like two years we’ve struggled beating the Bengals,” Kelce said. “So there’s been a lot of like build up in emotion of like, I would say, not necessarily hate but just like dislike towards the Bengals because they keep beating us, and they keep talking about it every time they do. So it’s like, man, to see him go to the dark side man, it’s an awkward feeling.

“Obviously I hope that he has an absolute Hall of Fame career. You know what I mean? I wish nothing but the best for OB. He was an unbelievable leader. An unbelievable teammate on and off the field. We’ve got countless memories that I’ll .. cherish.”

Kelce brushed off a question from his brother about whether Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval recruited Brown. There was no Jabroni talk this time.

“Is he even still the mayor?” Kelce quipped. “I thought he resigned.”

Kelce also mentioned how tough it was to see wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster sign with the New England Patriots.

“That hurt man,” he said. “Another guy that came in, was really the leader of that wide receiver group for us last year. To be a first-year guy on the team and to kind of take the group and really just set the tone for work ethic and attention to detail and things like that for a lot of the young guys.

“I can’t say enough about what JuJu was for us last year and I’m sure he’s just going to transition that over to New England and help New England be a better team, without a doubt. Happy he got paid. You can’t help but appreciate guys that you love who go out and get paid, man.“

Kelce noted other former teammates who got big contracts.

“All the guys that you just listed right there, Andrew Wiley, Khalen Saunders, Juan Thornhill, Orlando Brown, JuJu, all those guys man, I love to see those guys get paid,” Kelce said.