After serving his four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland was activated to the roster on Tuesday. He is back in the facility with the team preparing for their Week 5 battle against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Breeland started all but one game during the 2019 regular season and Super Bowl run. He solidified himself as the other starting boundary cornerback opposite of Charvarius Ward, and become a hero in the championship game with two important tackles and a big interception.
That title game — which seemed like it happened ages ago — was the last live action Breeland saw in a football game. He was with the team in training camp, but hasn’t returned to One Arrowhead Drive since before the start of the regular season.
He’s back now, and he expressed mixed feelings on watching his teammates play this season from afar.
“It was a bittersweet moment, not being able to be out there,” Breeland admitted to reporters in his Friday press conference. “I was disappointed for myself for allowing my team to be out there without me. Seeing what they were doing, it really cheered me up at the same time, I really watched some good football, guys are really doing some great things. I’m just excited to join back.”
Breeland is right: the defense has played good football. The pass defense has allowed the third-fewest passing yards in the league while also nabbing the fifth-most interceptions with five. Their success so far has energized Breeland.
“I was excited,” Breeland responded when asked about his cornerback teammates’ play this year. “The adrenaline rush from them, I was just ready to get back and join those guys. I knew during camp those guys were going to do something special. I knew that they had all the talent and the capability to hold that spot down and help make this team something great. They shocked me with what they’re doing right now but it’s a long road to go, I’m just happy to be a part of it so we can continue.”
Breeland may not retain his starting spot immediately because of how well the group is playing. As our John Dixon mentioned in his article on Thursday, Rashad Fenton has played well enough to continue being a significant contributor. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo acknowledged that.
Head coach Andy Reid noted that Breeland looked good in his return to practice this week.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Reid told reporters. “I’ll talk to Spagnuolo today and see how he did, and what he thinks. He got some work in, and looked relatively sharp.”
It’s good that Breeland doesn’t need to be forced back into the lineup. He’s been working out over the last month, but he recognizes that it doesn’t compare to being conditioned for a full game.
“Working out, being off four weeks, you’re going to feel in shape as I do, but when it comes to football shape, it’s a totally different thing,” Breeland explained. “I’ve been through this scenario before coming off of injury, having to sit for awhile then get in the game and have to go full tilt. Those short breaths are going to come up pretty soon. I just put my trust in my coaches and really understand that they’re going to put me in the best position possible.”
Included in his workouts was a new sport.
“As far as tennis, I just picked something up, you never know how far you can go if you don’t try something new,” Breeland pointed out. “It helped me with my hand-eye coordination and different types of movements. It’s harder than you think, I thought it would be easy but it’s really hard.”
Breeland also started hanging around the Lincoln Prep High School football team during his suspension. Days after wide receiver Tyreek Hill shared his passion for mentoring high school student-athletes, Breeland had similar motives with the young men he worked with.
“Being around the kids at Lincoln Prep, it’s like a brotherhood,” Breeland described. “It reminded me of the locker room here, the younger guys they look up to me and I look up to them as well, seeing the things they do out there, the grind that they put in day in and day out, it was a joyful moment for me to cope with what I had going on in my situation. I just wanted to show them lessons, you don’t have to let your mistakes define you.”
Breeland will look to pick up where he left off in 2019; his best performances seemed to come towards the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. That being said, he is only focused on what’s next for him.
“As of right now, I’m just focused on the future and the present,” Breeland stated. “The past is behind me, and I’m just looking forward to get with my teammates and start winning football games.”