Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman eager to make every opportunity count in playoffs

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Third-year receiver Mecole Hardman has seen a late-season renaissance in the Kansas City Chiefs offense, providing a unique edge in both the running and passing games with his electric skillset. Inconsistency has plagued the early part of his career, but the recent turn of fortunes has bought Hardman plenty of goodwill with fans. He’s seemingly blossomed into the player many saw at the University of Georgia when the Chiefs drafted him.

After seeing his role on offense and special teams diminish following a slow start to his 2021 campaign, Hardman brought a lunch-pail mentality to earning back some of the trust he lost with silly mistakes. That mentality seems to be paying off with a significant number of looks in key situations during the playoffs when Kansas City needs him most.

Hardman told reporters ahead of practice on Monday that he is pleased with the action he has seen so far and looks forward to making good on as many chances as the coaching staff is willing to give him.

“I’m just happy to get opportunities and get a chance to touch the football and make plays happen,” Hardman said. “When he dials up things up like the jet sweeps or the pop passes or the screen plays or anything to get me the ball quickly, I enjoy those moments. I know when I get the ball, I can make things happen in hurry. I’m happy he’s allowing me to be part of this team and be part of the game plan to help this team out and giving me opportunities. As long as he does that, I’m going to just make sure that he’s right by giving me those opportunities. I’m going to just take advantage and just have fun with it and do what I need to do when I get the ball.”

Hardman certainly made the most of his opportunities in the divisional round In need of a score late in the third quarter, Hardman took a jet sweep that looked to be bottled up by Bills defenders. Hardman exploded through four defenders untouched for a 25-yard rushing score.

If Hardman can keep building on the momentum gained through the two stellar postseason games he has played in this season, the Chiefs’ offense could be nearly unstoppable. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill command the majority of defensive attention, which opens up opportunities for others to shine. As long as fumbles, drops, and pre-snap miscues don’t become an issue in key situations moving forward, it would seem Hardman is back in the driver’s seat in his effort to become Kansas City’s next superstar.

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3 Chiefs players named to PFWA All-AFC Team, none to All-NFL Team