Earlier this offseason, the Orlando Brown Jr. saga came to an end when the former Kansas City Chiefs left tackle could not agree on a contract extension with the club.
Brown landed with Kansas City’s greatest current out-of-division rival: the Cincinnati Bengals. That squad has squared off against the Chiefs in the previous two AFC Championship games. At the time, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo explained that an opportunity to play the Chiefs in meaningful playoff games was part of the draw for Brown.
Fast forward two months and the Chiefs have begun life after Brown, leaning into Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor as their starting tackles for 2023. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes addressed Brown’s departure for Cincinnati last Wednesday.
“It’s tough,” said Mahomes. “I still talk to Orlando (Brown). We had a friendship off the field just as much as on the field. You understand how great of a player he is. He makes Cincinnati an even better football team, so that stinks for us, but at the same time, I’m happy for him that he got to a good place where he was able to get a good contract that he deserved and everything like that.
“We’ll still have that friendship, but he’s a competitor like me, so we’re going to be wanting to be able to brag about who wins that football game.”
It could be argued that Mahomes said all the right things regarding Brown joining the Bengals; Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Boyd spoke to the media on Tuesday.
“I love it,” said Boyd, per FOX19’s Joe Danneman. “We have a nice little rivalry with the Chiefs and to see him come over, it’s like, ‘We one-upped y’all.’
“At the end of the day, he’s a great player. No matter where he would have went, he’s probably one of the best at his position. Adding him to what we got already is going to allow Joe [Burrow] to have more time. It’s going to give us to will to put up those points, so I’m just happy to have him.”
A “one-upping” is an interesting way to describe the Bengals’ acquisition of Brown, considering the offseason timeline showed Kansas City allowing him to walk, then signing Taylor before it seemed he had even begun talks with Cincinnati.
The Chiefs host the Bengals on New Year’s Eve.