Chandler’s Cross, England — Lions tight end Eric Ebron is looking forward to seeing one of the top players at his position Sunday.
Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, whose team hosts the Lions on Sunday at London’s Wembley Stadium (9:30 a.m., FOX), ranks third among tight ends with 489 receiving yards, and after finishing sixth with 862 yards last season, it’s clear Kelce is already among the top players at the position in his third NFL season.
“He’s dope, obviously,” Ebron said. “I’m looking forward to watching him play. Every time I go against a tight end I try to compare myself to him. I wish him the best, man. He’s a great tight end.”
Unfortunately for the Lions, going against a superb tight end could spell trouble as the defense has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in five of seven games. And the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Kelce is as tough to cover as just about any tight end in the league.
Lions free safety Glover Quin said Kelce, who led the Chiefs in receiving last year as well, sets up a lot of what Kansas City does offensively. Even though top wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (concussion) likely will return for Sunday’s game, the Chiefs offense is short on playmakers with running back Jamaal Charles (knee) on injured reserve, which makes stopping Kelce a top priority.
“He’s a great, great player, man,” Quin said. “A great tight end. He can run, (he’s) big, catch the ball really well. He does a lot for their offense. He works really well with (quarterback) Alex Smith, and they play well together.”
The Lions hope Ebron can develop on a similar trajectory as Kelce, whose nickname is Zeus. A third-round pick in 2013, Kelce played just one game due to a knee injury as a rookie. Ebron struggled in 13 games as a rookie, but after averaging 53.6 yards in five games this season, he’s on pace for 750 if he doesn’t miss another game.
And although he compares himself to other tight ends around the league, Ebron didn’t want to make any comparisons publicly.
“I compare myself only to Eric Ebron and try to be the best Eric Ebron I can be,” he said. “Travis Kelce is Travis Kelce, and he’s great.”