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With the Chiefs, wide receiver Rashee Rice no longer has to ‘wait his turn’

In a new interview, Kansas City’s rookie wideout spoke about becoming the new leader of his position group.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

After another stellar performance during Sunday’s 27-17 victory over the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receiver Rashee Rice delved into his remarkable rookie season with former NFL wideout T. J. Houshmandzadeh on an episode of “Airing It Out” on Fubo Sports.

Rice has emerged as Kansas City’s leading wide receiver, having recorded 68 catches for 754 yards and seven touchdowns. Rice is gratified to get the work — especially as a rookie.

“Throughout high school and college,” Rice explained. “I had to wait my turn behind others, learning patience and facing adversity — while knowing I needed to be on the field. I really just wanted to come in [and] have an impact right away. I wasn’t necessarily worried about being a starter right away. I was just trying to get on the field”

Rice acknowledged the recent skepticism about the Chiefs’ wide receivers — including Kadarius Toney — with poise.

“Hearing that we ain’t got a good receiver room — stuff like that — it just kind of makes it easier for us to lean on each other and not be the people that’s bringing each other down,” he remarked, “because we already got that on the outside. So as long as our room is tight? Nah, we’re not really worried about it.

We know that [Toney] knows that he should have made the catch — you know [what] I’m saying? And you know we didn’t lose the game. So when we get to practice we’re going to be heavy on catching the ball with your eyes.”

Despite being a rookie, Rice recognizes the importance of vocal leadership in the wide receiver room. He also emphasized the need for attention to fundamentals, noting that he continues to practice catching a tennis ball to enhance his focus on eye-catching skills.

Rice said that he had set high standards for himself: a 1,000-yard season, at least five touchdowns and a Pro Bowl (or even a Super Bowl) appearance. He has already surpassed one goal — his seven touchdowns have set a new franchise record for rookie wideouts — and needs just 246 yards to reach 1,000. He would be the first Chiefs rookie to reach that mark.

In the AFC, Rice now ranks 15th in receiving yards — and is tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns — making a Pro Bowl nod a distinct possibility. But Rice emphasized to Houshmandzadeh that team success — particularly reaching the championship game — would take precedence over any individual accolade.

Rice also said that he loves playing with quarterback Patrick Mahomes — and wasn’t bothered by his outburst following the Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“I love when he shows that emotion,” said Rice, “because it reflects his strong love for the game. We all share that passion — and it’s about how we bounce back and finish the game. Even if mistakes happen, we support each other and keep pushing forward.”

In a year that has posed challenges for the Chiefs’ wide receiver corps, Rice has emerged as a star. While speaking with Houshmandzadeh, his maturity and confidence shined through — just as they continue to do on the field.

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