Chiefs LB Nick Bolton credits Anthony Hitchens for his early-season development

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The first half of the season was rough by the Kansas City Chiefs’ lofty standards, starting 2021 with a 4-4 record. A positive from the first half has been rookie linebacker Nick Bolton, who has quickly ascended to become an impact player on the much-criticized Chiefs defense.

Bolton has been a bright spot for Steve Spagnuolo’s crew, and the linebacker racked up over 40 tackles and seven tackles for loss in October. The high marks earned him NFL Defensive Rookie of The Month honors, shining the light of potential on what his career could be heading with the franchise. Bolton credited his early success to veteran linebacker Anthony Hitchens during Friday’s press conference.

“Everybody knows [Anthony] Hitch is one of those guys that is selfless, he helps you out throughout the rooms and stuff like that,” Bolton told reporters on Friday. “So, since he’s been out, he’s been like a coach. Like I said, he’s played a lot of football. I see things on film, I go watch film with him. He kind of gives me keys and things like that, maybe play a little bit faster, maybe communication I can make before the snap, I can help out as motion goes. Like I said, it’s always been a blessing for me to just learn behind him.”

Bolton’s notable standout performances took place two weeks ago, filling in for Hitchens at the MIKE linebacker spot, in a lopsided loss to the Tennessee Titans. The former Missouri Tigers star recorded 15 tackles, including nine solo stops, with the other four tackles for loss. He immediately showed appreciation for Hitchens in his postgame comments as well.

“Just calling plays was pretty much the difference,” Bolton said. “Everything else was pretty much the same week to week. Hitch (Anthony Hitchens) helped me out throughout the week and helped me get comfortable to go out there and play this week. So, a testament to him for that.”

With Anthony Hitchens returning from injury in Week 9, Bolton is not certain of how the snaps will shake out moving forward. He does know that whether he or Hitchens is in the lineup, they’ll be prepared to execute the game plan and compete at a high level.

“As things go forward, I’m not really sure in terms of playing time,” Bolton said. “That’s outside of my control, but I know me, and Hitch are going into the game, try to execute the game plan we have in front of us to the best of our abilities and go out there have fun and play fast.”

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