On Thursday, new Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling posted a tweet that caught fire. After signing a three-year, $30 million contract with the Chiefs, as he thought about his journey to Kansas City, he couldn’t help himself from becoming a bit emotional.
I could cry real tears right now. I got cut from my high school team as a freshman to signing a second contract in the NFL. Never let any person place a limitation on who you can be. THANK YOU GOD!!!— Marquez V-S (@MVS__11) March 25, 2022
“I could cry real tears right now,” wrote Valdes-Scantling. “I got cut from my high school team as a freshman to signing a second contract in the NFL. Never let any person place a limitation on who you can be. THANK YOU GOD!!!”
On Friday, the 27-year-old spoke to local Kansas City media members for the first time via Zoom — and after making sure listeners knew this was no slight about his former Lakewood High School (St. Petersburg) football coach, he explained how the experience taught him to believe in himself at an early age.
“As a freshman, I wasn’t good enough to make the team,” he said. “I had to take accountability — stop pointing my finger at everybody else... and have to say I got to be better, and once I did that and used that as self-motivation and learn how to build that drive within myself but not need anybody else to do it, [I] took that and ran with it. And I’ve been self-motivated ever since. And I think it’s paid off for me.”
Valdes-Scantling went on to make the team as a sophomore — and eventually, as a senior, recording 50 catches for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns. His high school performances led him first to NC State and then to the University of South Florida, where he posted more than 850 yards and six touchdowns as a college senior.
When he began to take offers for his second contract this offseason, wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s departure tipped the needle for him to come to Kansas City over other suitors (more on that from John Dixon here).
Now, with Hill out of the picture, he projects to be the Chiefs’ deep-threat specialist entering the 2022 season.
Noteworthy: Marquez Valdes-Scantling is more likely to replace Demarcus Robinson's snaps than he is to replace Tyreek Hill's. Robinson played ~65% of the #Chiefs' offensive snaps over the past three years, roughly the same as MVS played in Green Bay.— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) March 24, 2022
Valdes-Scantling’s career résumé includes an eye-popping 17.5 yards per reception. During his most productive season in 2020, the single-season number was 20.9 yards per reception.
“I’ve been a top deep threat in the league for my four years in my career,” he said. “Those stats will speak for themselves. But also, I’m not limited to just that. I think coach (Andy) Reid does a really good job of getting his playmakers the ball, and I think with having Pat under center and coach Reid calling those plays, I think I fit right in.”
Valdes-Scantling is right in the fact that Reid has a plan for him. The Chiefs attack free agency each year with a purpose, and general manager Brett Veach wouldn’t bring in a player of his caliber unless Reid knew how to maximize what he brings to the table.
Reid famously says how much he loves energy-givers — and on first glance, Valdes-Scantling seems to fit that mold, too.
“I think that I provide a spark,” he said. “Being in the league four years, playing with Aaron (Rodgers), I know what it looks like. And obviously playing with Davante (Adams), I learned so much from him. I think that my skill set — it will speak for itself come Sundays.”