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Jerick McKinnon looking forward to playing in first Super Bowl

In 2022, Kansas City’s veteran running back gained more than 800 scrimmage yards — the second-most of his long career.

NFL: Super Bowl LVII Opening Night Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In 2022, Kansas City Chiefs’ running back Jerick McKinnon has played a vital role in the team’s offense, leading all NFL running backs with nine receiving touchdowns.

Super Bowl LVII will be McKinnon’s second appearance in the championship game— but the first in which he will play. He was on injured reserve with the San Francisco 49ers team that lost Super Bowl LIV to the Chiefs after the 2019 season.

McKinnon tweaked his ankle in the AFC Championship game, but was a full participant in all of last week’s practices in Kansas City.

Over his nine-season career — two of those seasons spent on injured reserve — McKinnon has had his share of injuries. He’s looking forward to being healthy for Sunday’s game.

“It came to a point in my career where I didn’t have anybody to lean on — and it was real dark,” McKinnon told reporters in Monday’s “Opening Night” press appearances in Phoenix. But then, he said, he got a call to come to the Chiefs. He’s felt blessed to be a part of “a great organization [with] great coaches and great teammates.”

“It’s not about me,” said McKinnon of the support he’s received in Kansas City. “That’s what kept me going — knowing that [there were] people close to me [who] want to see me succeed. They still believe [in] me. And when you have people that believe in you, you can never quit.”

On Monday night, McKinnon sounded like a player ready to leave it all on the field during Sunday evening’s game. His ability to make catches out of the backfield — and pick up blitzes in pass protection — will be essential.

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