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Mecole Hardman talks replacing Sammy Watkins and the team’s 2021 outlook

The wide receiver joined NFL Network’s “Total Access” earlier this week.

Kansas City Chiefs third-year wide receiver Mecole Hardman joined NFL Network’s “Total Access” this week in what is believed to be one of his first interviews since the team’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

“I think we kind of got like a bigger chip on our shoulder this year,” explained Hardman, “knowing we didn’t get the results that we wanted last year and all the talk that everybody’s doing, and everybody’s saying that we got the target on our back, but I don’t think people realize that they’re going to get our best game as well. I think it’s just something that we can look forward to, and it’s definitely going to be another challenge for us to get back to where we want to be at, so we’re looking forward to the challenge and I think we’re going to do well when it comes time to go on the field.”

Patrick Mahomes mentioned Hardman’s name first when the quarterback spoke to the media after mandatory minicamp last week. For the first time in a while, the Chiefs have a No. 2 receiver battle brewing entering training camp, given Sammy Watkins signed with the Baltimore Ravens this offseason after three years in Kansas City.

Top candidates for those targets include veterans Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle, rookie Cornell Powell — and Hardman.

“Man, Coach EB (Eric Bieniemy) knows what he’s got in me,” Hardman said. “People, they’re blinded by our offense and what we can bring to the table. It’s hard to come into our offense with the best tight end, the best receiver in the game, and people expect you to do so many big things...I’m just doing my role, you know what I’m saying? But I think, with Sammy gone and that receiver spot opening up some more, I’ve got all the tools and ability to do what I need to do, so I’m definitely going to go in there and be a dog like I am, and when my number is called, take advantage.”

Before the interview concluded, Hardman provided his take on the Chiefs’ most-talked-about national story of the offseason — the idea that they could potentially go a perfect 20-0.

The wide receiver offered the most significant challenge to such a lofty goal.

“I think it’s consistency,” said Hardman. “I think in this game, you can get beat on any given Sunday, Thursday, Monday — whenever you’re playing. I just feel like the better team’s going to win. I think our job is to go in there with the right game plan and execute to the best of our ability, and I think we’ll be fine. We got the talent in the room to do whatever we put our minds to, so 20-0 is definitely our goal.

“We don’t want to lose any games no matter what the circumstance is. Whatever Pat says, our quarterback, I’m siding with him.”