Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman did not take the practice field for the second straight day on Friday. Hardman has been dealing with what the team has previously described as an abdomen illness and injury.
After what sounded like slight optimism regarding Hardman’s status earlier in the week, head coach Andy Reid dialed it back when he spoke to the media in his final press conference leading into the Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos.
“Mecole will not play; he’ll be out,” said Reid. “He had a setback on Wednesday and just isn't ready yet, so we’ll keep bringing him along, see how he does.”
Reid detailed what happened during Wednesday’s workout.
“He just had some pain,” said Reid, “some pain, and it was almost like a tweak up in the groin area, and so we just backed him off. I don’t want to take steps back. I don’t want to do that.”
Hardman hasn’t played since Week 9. Since he is still on the injured reserve list, the Chiefs are not required to post his status on the final injury report.
In the meantime, the players in the wide receiver room are doing everything they can to keep his spirits up.
“With Mecole, he’s one of those guys — you just got to communicate with him,” said JuJu Smith-Schuster. “He’s a strong individual. He’s going to bounce back. He’s going to help us in the long run and stretch. But for someone who is going through injuries — and I know Mecole, he wants to be out there, he wants to play — at the same time, it’s all about the timing. [It’s] when he’s right, when he’s ready to come out and help us.
“Like I said: [it’s] just the communication, hanging out with him, talking. He’s around the facility.”
The Chiefs have until Wednesday, January 4 (when his 21-day practice window ends), to activate him to the 53-man roster. Otherwise, he is done for the season. Based on the head coach’s comments, his activation no longer seems like a given.
“I’m not worried about it,” concluded Reid. “As long as he’s progressing and trying to work to get better here, we’ll be OK. If he can’t, then he can’t. Then we go move on and keep going with the guys we got.”