Mecole Hardman

Getty Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman at Arrowhead Stadium on January 13, 2024.

In the Kansas City Chiefs‘ hunt for a Super Bowl three-peat, upgrading the wide receivers room was a top priority. After releasing Marquez Valdes-Scantling, it seemed the Chiefs also moved on from veteran Mecole Hardman.

However, amid Phase 3 of organized team activities, NFL insider Jordan Schultz broke the news that Kansas City was re-signing Hardman on Thursday, June 6. The news was a surprise considering the Chiefs’ offseason moves thus far.

Kansas City signed Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in free agency, traded up to land Xavier Worthy in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft, and head coach Andy Reid doubled down on Kadarius Toney’s potential.

For Chariah Gordon, Hardman’s longtime girlfriend, who’s pregnant with the couple’s second child, the return to Kansas City is better late than never. She posted a photo with Hardman at Arrowhead on her Instagram Stories and wrote, “Home is where the heart is.”

Gordon and Hardman have called Kansas City for the better part of five years. While Hardman started the 2023 season with the New York Jets after signing a one-year $4 million deal, the Chiefs traded to get him back in October.

After the trade, Hardman missed five regular season games due to a thumb injury. He finished with 14 passes for 118 yards in six games. While he wasn’t a huge factor throughout the playoffs, Hardman played a crucial role during the Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers.

He caught three passes for 57 yards, including the game-winning 3-yard touchdown from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The play that wrote our name in the history books as called by the one and only @mitchholthus.

Chiefs superstar Chris Jones appeared both surprised and thrilled over Hardman’s return. Jones posted the announcement on X and wrote , “😳🚨…. The broski 🤞🏾.” Hardman, the Chiefs second-round pick from the 2019 NFL draft, is signing another one-year deal, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Chiefs Expected to Utilize Wide Receiver Mecole Hardman In a Different Role

Veteran WR Mecole Hardman is re-signing with the #Chiefs on a one-year deal, per source.

A hero in Super Bowl LVIII after a brief stint with the #Jets, Hardman is back in Kansas City.

Under the league’s new kickoff rules, the Chiefs’ special teams may look incredibly different in 2024. Schultz noted, “Aside from being a receiver, Mecole Hardman is another player the #Chiefs could use on kickoffs with the NFL’s new kickoff rule. Kansas City has a few options there, including former rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit.”

The Chiefs are also contemplating using Rees-Zammit and safety Jordan Reid for kickoffs instead of Harrison Butker.

Considering the Chiefs’ new receiver additions, CBS Sports’ John Breech agreed that Hardman’s may be best utilized on special teams.

“If Hardman is having trouble getting on the field as a receiver, he might be able to get a few more snaps in by playing special teams,” Breech wrote. “The 26-year-old does have some experience returning kickoffs. During his rookie year, he averaged 26.1 yards on kickoff returns, which ranked fifth in the NFL for any player with 20 or more returns. He also had a 104-yard kick return TD in 2019.”

Chiefs News: Mecole Hardman Could Be Insurance Amid Uncertainty Surrounding WR Rashee Rice’s Suspension

Rashee RiceRashee Rice

GettyChiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice at State Farm Stadium on August 19, 2023.

Hardman’s return comes while the Chiefs await Rashee Rice’s expected suspension. Kansas City’s No. 1 wide receiver is predicted to miss several games following his involvement in six-vehicle car crash in Dallas on March 30.

However, the timing and length of Rice’s suspension remains unknown. SI’s Jordan Foote wrote on Thursday, “Here’s how I think the group would shake out if KC had to make the decision today: Brown, Worthy, [Justin] Watson, [Skyy] Moore, Hardman and Toney make the roster while Rice is suspended.

“When Rice returns, if injuries don’t make the decision for them, the Chiefs will have to make a final decision on Moore, Hardman or Toney.”

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