Thursday, January 19, 2023

Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman sends 2-word message absent from injury

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As we all know, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was away indefinitely with an abdominal injury that is now being classified as a pelvic issue.

The fast offensive weapon was later activated from injured reserve just before the end of his 21-day training window, which qualified him for the playoffs should KC need him. Considering the first-round bye, the divisional round initially felt like a good return date for Hardman, but that now seems doubtful after he missed his second straight practice session with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ upcoming matchup on Saturday.

In fact, following another setback for Hardman on Tuesday, media outlets and analysts speculated that the wideout for the season could take place on social media. Today, Jan. 18, Hardman finally broke the silence about his recovery with a two word tweet.

“Marathon > Sprint,” he said cryptically, implying that he’s playing the long game with this injury rather than rushing back before his body is ready.

It’s fair to say that Hardman is approaching his first-ever free agency streak as unrestricted fortune, and following the Chiefs’ acquisition of Kadarius Toney, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him making money elsewhere.

For many KC fans, Hardman may feel like a disappointment. He’s a former second-round pick who failed to muster 700 receiving yards in a single season.

Even so, he’s still a potential offensive weapon with incorrigible speed — even if it never worked in Kansas City. At just 25 next season, someone will most likely be willing to throw some cash at such a wide receiver as long as he’s sane through 2023. Apparently, Hardman plans to be.

If this is the end of the former Georgia Bulldog in a Chiefs jersey, it will definitely be a disappointing end.

Hardman entered a breakout campaign without Tyreek Hill and had his worst season yet due to injuries and inconsistencies. He finished with just 297 receiving yards and another 31 on the ground, despite being a big factor in the red zone with six total touchdowns.

It’ll be interesting to see if Hardman does some sort of proof-it deal in 2023 — similar to the one KC gave JuJu Smith-Schuster. After missing nine straight games to conclude the regular season and potentially more in the playoffs, that type of deal could be the Speedster’s best bet this spring.

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