What Is a TE in football?

The acronym TE in football refers to the tight end position. Tight ends are hybrid position between OTs (offensive lineman) and WR (wide receivers). Tight ends are capable blockers while also having the ability to receive passes from the quarterback.

In most cases, the tight end is going to line up on the end of the offensive line beside the offensive tackle. This way the tight end can easily be used as an extra blocker when passing or running the ball.

The tight and can also run routes from this position in order to give the quarterback another option to throw to.

Tight ends are usually the largest players on the offense that get the ball in their hands. For this reason, TEs can often produce mismatches against opposing teams.

What Does A TE Do?

Now that you know TE in football stands for tight end you may be wondering what exactly this position does each time they are on the field.

Tight ends have three main duties on the offence. Those duties include catching passes, blocking on running plays, and protecting the quarterback on passing plays.

Tight ends are valued most for their ability to catch the ball. Tight ends that are elite at receiving passes can be as effective as a teams best wide receiver. TEs also play a large role in blocking on rushing plays. Tight ends are some of the best blockers on the football field and will do their best to clear a path for the ball carrier.

Tight ends will also be asked to help out in pass protection. Since this position usually lines up on the line of scrimmage these players can act as en extra offensive lineman.

Each of these duties is explained in even more detail below.

Receiving Passes as a Tight End

fullback pass protection play tight end running a receiving route
Tight End (TE) running an out route

One of the main responsibilities of TEs in football is receiving passes. In modern-day football teams love to pass the ball and tight ends are one of the best ways to get the ball downfield.

Tight ends tend to run shorter and intermediate routes but can go deep on some occasions as well.

Often times tight ends will act as a sort of safety valve for an offense. If the quarterback is in trouble he should be able to throw a short pass to a tight end in order to pick up some safe yards.

Though some NFL teams have found a lot of success using extremely athletic tight ends as their top receiving options. Players such as Travis Kelce have found themselves outproducing just about every wide receiver in the NFL in terms of receiving stats.

Run Blocking

Another key factor in playing the TE position is run blocking. Lining up at the end of the offensive line tight ends are often going to find themselves in the trenches.

On these plays, tight ends will usually be assigned to block a DE or OLB.

Both of these defensive players are large and incredibly strong which is why tight ends are such large players.

Without adequate weight and size, tight ends would not be able to effectively block on running or passing plays.

Runs are often called to the strong side of the formation which is where the tight end lines up. This means the TE position will often be placing one of the key blocks on rushing plays.

Pass Protection And Chip Blocks

Tight end (TE) run blocking

On top of catching passes and blocking for runs the TE position also play a role in pass protection.

On some occasions, a tight end may stay back and protect the quarterback for the entire play while other times they might have to simply execute a chip block.

A chip block involves the tight end laying a quick block on a pass rusher before heading away from the quarterback and running a receiving route.

Chip blocks can also be used as a way to disguise that a tight end is going to run a route. Many plays feature the tight end blocking for a second or two only to sneak out of the pocket and get open for a pass.


The acronym TE in football stands for tight end. This is an offensive position that is a hybrid between an offensive tackle and a wide receiver. These players catch passes from the quarterback but also act as effective blockers.

That is all for TEs in football check out our guide to what CB means in football or what SS means in football to learn more about these acronyms.

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