Domonique Foxworth on Travis Kelce Credit: The Right Time with Bomani Jones

Not long ago, Travis Kelce was seen as a goofball jock trying to get girls and make a name for himself. Now, the Kansas City Chiefs tight end is one of the more famous athletes in the NFL and half of the central storyline heading into Super Bowl LVIII.

That evolution is admirable, said ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth this week. Foxworth, who led the NFLPA during his time playing defensive back in the league and reportedly was a candidate to be president of the union last year, believes Kelce has now “matured into a football player that is worth being proud of.”

It’s not that Kelce was an embarrassment before, but Foxworth admires how Kelce is representing the league and the community of NFL athletes while in the spotlight dating Taylor Swift and helping the Chiefs win championships.

“The one thing about this whole Travis Kelce thing that I think has been really cool is I think sometimes we forget sometimes people are still growing and changing as their life goes on,” Foxworth explained on The Right Time with Bomani Jones. “I think the caricature we had about Travis Kecle was a bit old, like the one who had his TV show, you’ve got to fight for your right to party, he presents as this fun guy.”

Foxworth clarified that the newer, more accurate reputation Kelce has earned is as an upstanding, wizened symbol for the NFL.

“But the more that this Taylor Swift stuff comes along, the vaccine stuff, the Saturday Night live performance,” Foxworth added. “I’m still maturing [too], but he seems to have matured into a football player that is worth being proud of.”

At the same time, Foxworth and Jones acknowledged that Kelce still represents one specific type of man and NFL athlete. That’s no fault of his own, but Kelce still hails from Ohio and is dating a pop star with a very specific audience.

Clearly, there are many symbols of what being an NFL athlete is in 2024. Especially after discussing the fratboy energy of Rob Gronkowski earlier in the conversation, it’s an interesting acknowledgment from Foxworth that Kelce has grown beyond the confines of that caricature.

Now, he is representing the NFL for a huge new audience and, at least for one prominent member of the NFL brotherhood in Foxworth, standing for the right things.

[The Right Time with Bomani Jones on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.