Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce is experiencing a lot of luck these days, both with his team and in the girlfriend department. But as one of his lifelong friends told People in an exclusive interview, it’s not luck.
The Kelce friends and family suite has been getting a lot of screen time at Chiefs games ever since Kelce’s gal Taylor Swift started popping up there, but Aric Jones (at left in the photos above and below) has been there from the start. He’s a designer and marketer who has known Kelce ever since his early childhood years in Ohio, and their friendship has been a constant ever since.
Jones even lived with Kelce for a time after he was drafted by the Chiefs in 2013. As you might imagine, he has seen Kelce through a lot of ups and downs, and he gave People plenty of insight about the NFL star’s work ethic.
“Last year, Trav got some sort of bonus or something with his contract or whatnot, and we were congratulating him in a group text, and his response was, ‘We just go to work every day,'” said Jones. “That response right there. How can you not wake up and go to work every day and do your job? ‘Cause that’s all it is, you go to work, you do your job, you do what you’re supposed to do. It’s all principles.”
Not that Kelce didn’t have a wilder side growing up.
“I went to my first house party with Travis,” Jones shared. “I got in my first car accident with Travis. He was there for so much of my, honestly, just teenage-ness.”
Jones and Kelce met playing youth hockey when they were 4 and 5 years old, respectively. The pair continued to bond over sports through their teen years, playing in sports camps and eventually high school football. These days, Jones is a designer and entrepreneur whose unofficial job is the “party captain” on buses to Chiefs games with Kelce’s friends and family. He even describes how Kelce’s dad taught him how to shotgun a beer his first time in the family suite.
And the woman he calls “Mama Kelc”? “Those cookies that she brought up for the Super Bowl last year, we’ve been eating those cookies for years,” Jones said.
It’s clear that their bond is still strong after more than 25 years of friendship, and Jones emphasized how important that support is to Kelce’s success — and the success of their tight group of friends.
“Still, to this day, as a group of friends, we all have a saying to each other: do your job, and everybody is a star in their own role,” he said. “And if we all do our job, contributing to each other’s success, then great things happen, like our fourth Super Bowl appearance.”
“Travis is the car, and everybody sees the Bentley, and they see the Ferrari, but are you popping the hood?” Jones continued. “‘Cause we’re the engine. And that’s the way I look at it.”