The Kansas City Chiefs brought wide receiver Mecole Hardman back into the fold this week, trading with the New York Jets for him. Despite signing a $6.5 million contract with New York in the offseason, Hardman saw very little playing time and was clearly not in the Jets plans for the future, which opened the door for his return to Kansas City.
Hardman’s familiarity with the Chiefs offense and the fact he has been actively practicing all season means there should be very little ramp-up time between now and when we see Hardman back on the field in a Chiefs uniform. In fact, head coach Andy Reid said during his presser on Friday that Hardman could see the field as early as this weekend when the Chiefs take on the Los Angeles Chargers at 3:25 p.m. Arrowhead Time at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Just how many snaps Hardman will play and how big of a role he will have in the Chiefs offense remains to be seen. Reid was non-committal about Hardman on Friday but acknowledged that it was good to have Hardman back into the mix.
“[He’s] somebody that knows the system and knows the offense and kind of understands how it rolls here,” said Reid. “And then, he’s also a talented player... We’ll see where it goes.”
Earlier this week, Hardman outlined the details of a pubic bone injury he suffered last season that left him unable to move his lower extremities for a period of time. Hardman would ultimately return to play in the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he re-aggravated the injury.
Reid said on Friday that Hardman’s determination to play in that game showed his toughness.
“He did a great job for us and the championship game,” recalled the head coach. “He’s not the biggest guy, but you see it when he carries the ball. He’s he’s fearless that way. Good or bad. He’s fearless that way, right? And so you know he’s a tough kid. And he did, he pushed through that— wanted to play. You know he was adamant about that.”
Hardman has always been well-liked by his teammates — and proof of this can be found in a video that made the rounds on social media this week of Hardman reuniting with his fellow wide receiver Skyy Moore.
Your first look at No. 12 Mecole Hardman back in Chiefs red. Clearly picking up where he left off with teammates such as Skyy Moore. pic.twitter.com/s4YDXtKH8L— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) October 19, 2023
Moore wasn’t the only Chiefs player who was excited to have Hardman back in the building— star tight end Travis Kelce said that he gave Hardman a “big ol’ hug” the moment he saw him.
"When you get a guy like that back in the building, it lights everybody up."— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) October 20, 2023
Travis Kelce spoke about having Mecole Hardman back in Kansas City following today's practice. pic.twitter.com/UrxgBrtllE
“It’s good to have the guy back, man,” said Kelce with a smile. “It’s crazy when you get a guy like Mecole who’s got a big personality, you know, friends with everybody on the team. A brother to everybody on the team, both on offense and defense. When you get a guy like that back in the building, it just lights everybody up. It gives everybody that good mojo.”
The Chiefs hope that carries Hardman and his fellow teammates to victory on Sunday.