Former Chiefs TE Sends Strong Message to Travis Kelce After Exit

The Kansas City Chiefs are working hard to improve their roster ahead of the 2024 NFL season. While the Chiefs re-signed several veterans, they also lost numerous players in free agency.

Chiefs Digest’s Matt Derrick posted on March 11, “The Chiefs won’t tender an offer to RFA TE Jody Fortson but still hope to bring him back once free agency begins Wednesday.” However, on March 14, the Katz Brothers broke the news that Fortson was signing with the Miami Dolphins.

Fortson signed a one-year, $942,000 contract with the Dolphins. The 28-year-old told reporters he’s ready to make an impact in Miami and offered much credit to his time with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

“Travis Kelce is my favorite teammate of all time on any level — Pop Warner, high school, college,” Fortson told reporters. “Not only because he took his time trying to like teach me the role of being a tight end, but just because of how a great person he is. He didn’t have to… He just showed unconditional love and knowledge for the game.”

The Valdosta State alum offered his mentor the highest praise possible. “Being in a room with Kelce, it probably, not probably, it definitely set me forward light years of where I would have been had I not had arguably the greatest of all time in that room. Being able to learn and see how he’s attacking different routes, and why he views coverage like this… you’re not able to get that unless you’re with somebody who knows that.”

With Kelce, he learned to slow his game down and have patience. Fortson called working with the future Hall of Famer an “extraordinary blessing.”

Former Chiefs Star Tyreek Hill Is Excited to Have Jody Fortson Join Him in Miami

Jody Fortson

Fortson will have at least one familiar face in Miami, former Chiefs superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill. “Now this is the news I been waiting on 🥹,” Hill posted after the news was announced. Fortson replied, “YEAHHHH 10 !!!!”

“You know, Tyreek is a goofball all the time,” Fortson told reporters. “But that’s also another intelligent player… He was like, ‘You’re coming into a situation where you get to be you. Let your personality ooze out. Just let that happen and everything would be fine.”

Fortson only had positive to say about his five-year tenure in Kansas City. “I just think it brings a winner’s attitude, a winner’s mindset,” the three-time Super Bowl champ said. “Everybody here knows I’ve been with the Chiefs my entire career. We’ve won there. I might not have had the role that I like, but I know what it takes to win.”

Fortson initially joined Kansas City on a tryout basis as an undrafted free agent in 2019. Despite minimal playing time, he became a fan favorite. After two years on the practice squad, he joined the active roster in 2021. Between 2021 and 2022, he appeared in 21 games, recording 14 receptions for 155 yards and four touchdowns. He missed the entirety of the 2023 NFL season after he suffered a shoulder injury in training camp.

Fortson still needs to earn his roster spot with the Dolphins. USA Today’s Mike Masala wrote, “If Fortson makes the team in Miami, he’ll likely be used as a run blocker and red-zone threat, considering he has received great run-blocking grades from Pro Football Focus (85.8 in 2021 and 73.9 in  2022).”

The Chiefs TEs Room with Travis Kelce May Look Very Different Next Season

Fortson likely isn’t the only tight end leaving the Chiefs in 2024. On March 12, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. was joining the Chiefs. Smith signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with Kansas City.

With Smith joining the roster, the move appears to signal that tight end Blake Bell won’t remain in Kansas City. Smith, 25, is seen as an upgrade over Bell.

Bell, drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft, closed out his fourth season with the Chiefs. After helping the Chiefs win the 2020 Super Bowl, he spent a year with the Dallas Cowboys before returning to Kansas City in 2021. Last March, he signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the Chiefs.

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