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Chris Jones embracing the Chiefs’ villain role

Kansas City’s defensive star discussed the Chiefs’ changing national perception, a tough playoff road, and his health at Opening Night.

NFL: Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones made an astute observation Monday speaking at Super Bowl LVIII’s opening night.

The Chiefs’ longest-tenured defensive player has realized that his team is now playing in their fourth Super Bowl in five seasons and is now firmly the villain of the sports world.

“For some reason,” Jones observed, “everybody used to love us. We used to be one of the most favorite teams. Now, everybody is like, ‘We’re ready for the Chiefs to lose.’ I don’t know why, what changed, or what dramatic incident happened to where everybody felt like we should lose now. But it’s ok. They can continue hating.”

The veteran pass rusher does not feel the Chiefs have won sufficiently for the sports world to turn on them in the way he perceives.

“The problem is,” he countered, “we haven’t won as much as people think. We’ve only won two, right? We only won two out of three.”

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

Should Jones come out of the week having won three out of four Super Bowl opportunities, he will acknowledge the long road he and his teammates faced. After defeating the Miami Dolphins 26-7 on a brutally cold Kansas City night, he experienced the first two true road playoff games of his exceptional career as the Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round and the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship.

“Our first playoff game,” Jones recalled, “was against the Miami Dolphins — the number one scoring offense in the league. Obviously, we played them at home, but then having to go to our number two game on the road against Josh Allen and the rolling Buffalo Bills — which was a scary moment.

“You know Josh Allen, how good they were playing, they had a few injuries, but Josh Allen is Josh Allen. We were able to defeat those guys, but then, we’re going to play the best team in the league: the Baltimore Ravens, hands down. MVP quarterback — my vote for MVP Lamar [Jackson] — and the weapons they have and what their defense has been doing all year.

“To defeat those three teams and to be here for me, that is what made this journey so remarkable this year.”

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As the Chiefs prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers in the season’s final game, Jones has identified who he sees as their most important player — three-time Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey.

“Christian McCaffrey is one of the best backs in the league,” Jones stated. “if not the best back in the league. MVP caliber player — [he’s] the offensive player of the year for me. He’s been doing his thing all year, so trying to slow him down, it’s going to be tough. We’re going to watch a little more film. Hopefully, we can figure out something where we can slow him down.”

During last week’s estimated injury reports, Jones was listed as limited throughout the week with a quad injury, though he did not carry an injury designation for the game. He did not appear concerned about the ailment during his opening remarks.

“I was able to rest it last week with the week off,” Jones explained. I got a few days to rest it, but I feel pretty good right now.”

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