As the Chiefs look back on the season, it’s almost possible to forget it looked like they wouldn’t have WR Tyreek Hill after allegations of child abuse came out over the summer. Hill had a previous history of domestic violence and was suspended by the team until the authorities decided they wouldn’t press charges. However, Chiefs chairperson Clark Hunt said that incident was out of the norm for Hill in the organization’s experience with him and they have seen him mature since taking a chance and drafting him.
“His first year with us, there were some question marks coming into the league,” Hunt said via ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “We never had any issues with him. He always was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing, accountable to the team, listening to his coaches, [being] a good teammate. I think we’ve seen that grow the last three or four years. Certainly I sense a heightened level of maturity from him this year, which is probably a byproduct of the challenges he went through earlier this year.”
The Chiefs were comfortable enough with Hill to sign him to a three-year, $54 million extension right before the start of the regular season, though they waited until after training camp to put pen to paper.
“Part of it was our experience with him over the four years he had been with us,” Hunt said. “We knew him as an individual. We clearly wanted as much information as possible from the legal proceedings that were going on. We wanted to make sure he was in a good place emotionally and that there weren’t going to be any more surprises down the road.”
Many thought this would be the year Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy got his first shot as a head coach after coming up as a candidate for a few years now. However, Bieniemy was passed over for all five openings, sparking another outcry about the NFL’s lack of hiring diversity. Bieniemy was more focused on the upcoming Super Bowl than making his case for a head coaching job, however.
“I will say this, I had the opportunity to interview,” Bieniemy said via NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo. “That was a great process. Not everybody has that opportunity. Right now, my focus is clearly on doing whatever we can do to help our team to beat the San Francisco 49ers. . . . “I’ll have that time to deal with that when this is over. My focus right now is to make sure that we finish this season the right way.”
Chiefs DE Frank Clark doesn’t lack for confidence. Despite struggling with an injury for much of the season, Clark has hit his stride in the playoffs. His four sacks are the most of any player this postseason and he played a key role in shutting down Titans RB Derrick Henry to reach the Super Bowl. While the 49ers have faced some great pass rushers, including their own teammates every day in practice, Clark says they haven’t seen a player like him yet.
“You mentioned Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen,” Clark said via NBC Sports’ Josh Schrock. “Great, great football players. But I don’t put myself in the category of no other guy. I don’t compare myself to no other defensive end in the league. I feel like my skill set is unique, especially, you talk about Frank Clark when I’m healthy, I don’t feel like there are a lot of defensive ends who can compete with me or play football at the level I play at. I play at an extremely high and aggressive level where I don’t tolerate a lot of stuff that offensive players try to do. I’m sure he’s going to block and do all those good things and make catches and stuff but at the end of the day, Frank Clark is going to be on the field and they have to see me.”
Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy admitted that it has been an “up and down” year for him, but his focus has been on helping the team.
“It’s been up and down,” McCoy said, via Pro Football Talk. “Early in the year, I had to play more then I kinda got hurt, got sick. The other backs stepped up and played really, really good, so my role kinda backtracked a little bit. To be honest, whenever my name is called I’m out there giving 110 percent. . . . Obviously, it’s a difference. I’m used to playing. I’m used to being the guy. To come here, we have so many good players from the quarterback down. I think, when that happens, a lot of players roles have to change.”
- McCoy said he’s not quite ready to retire yet even if Kansas City wins the Super Bowl: “I can still play, so I’m not going to retire yet, but that day is coming.” (Kevin Patra)
- Chiefs DT Chris Jones was asked about how his calf injury is doing: “I feel great, man. It’s the Super Bowl.“