Chiefs Sυper Bowl hero Mecole Hardmaп lays iпto Jets after 5-game teпυre: ‘Y’all caп’t tell me aboυt wiппiпg’

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LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 11: Mecole Hardman Jr. #12 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on prior to Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

Mecole Hardman is once again a Super Bowl champion, but this year’s ring must have felt extra special for the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver.

The first reason why is obvious: he caught the winning pass in overtime. The second reason is the path he took to get there, which saw him leave the Chiefs last offseason and join the New York Jets, then return to Kansas City in a midseason trade.

Hardman had something to say about that Jets tenure, in which he played five games, in an episode of “The Pivot Podcast” published Tuesday.

Specifically, Hardman didn’t think much of the Jets’ offensive coaching staff, which he said gave some players preferential treatment (clearly not him) and wasn’t properly prepared for Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury:

“I ain’t trying to bash nobody, but y’all treat certain guys that shouldn’t be treated like they’re treated. I don’t understand why you feel I can’t compete with any of these guys y’all are playing in front of me. I just feel like it’s not an established coaching staff there. You just got a new coaching staff that came in and there’s no standard there. Everybody do what they want to do.
“Granted, the defense has more of a stabilized standard with the coaching staff on that side, so you can tell the defense has got a standard. But the offense is just like, ‘We’ll just figure it out. It’s Aaron’s show. Let Aaron do what Aaron do.’ But then when Aaron goes down, it’s like ‘We don’t know what to do.’ But it’s that same coach that was out of a job the previous year, but managed to get a new job.”

That last line would be a reference to embattled Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired from his job as Denver Broncos head coach the previous offseason.

Mecole Hardman: Jets fed me ‘lies’

Hardman joined the Jets on a one-year, $4 million deal as part of an active offseason for the Jets, who also brought in Rodgers and his old friends Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard. Hardman isn’t the first person to criticize the Jets’ team-building around Rodgers, but he definitely has more experience on a winning NFL team than most of those critics.

The Chiefs drafted Hardman in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and have since reached four Super Bowls, winning three of them. Before that, he played on two Georgia teams that reached the SEC championship game. He noted some key differences between the Jets and Chiefs locker rooms:

“Y’all can’t tell me about winning. I’ve been to four Super Bowls in five years now. Before, I had been to four SEC championships and three Super Bowls. I’ve won two of them. I know what winning looks like. I know what winning is. So y’all keep telling me certain things and I’m not going for that, because y’all are not doing it right.
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“People feel like it’s too individual egos in that locker room. I’m telling them, ‘That’s not going to get y’all to win. It’s not going to happen.’ You have the KC locker room, it’s Pat, it’s me, it’s Trav, it’s Nick Allegretti, it’s Noah Gray. We all on the same level. No one is treated differently. If coach Reid says, ‘We don’t wear yellow cleats in practice,’ and Pat goes out there and wears yellow cleats, Pat’s going back inside and changing his cleats. Everybody treated the same.”

Hardman said his biggest issue with the Jets coaching staff was lying to him about how much they would use him in a game, with playing time instead going to receivers he believed to be inferior:

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“Y’all telling me certain things like, ‘Let me get you some plays, let’s get you involved in the game plan.’ But I played two plays. You can’t tell me that. I would rather you tell me, ‘I feel like these guys better than you, we’ll figure you out later.’ Alright, I can take that.
“I’m a grown-ass man. I understand that. But when you keep telling me and feeding me lies and saying certain stuff, that’s what don’t sit right with me, because I know for a fact I’m better than him for sure. I know I’m better than him, I’m better than him too. Garrett Wilson is the only person you should be like, ‘OK, you can go.'”

In case you’re wondering, here is a list of Jets wide receivers who got more snaps than Hardman last season before he was traded on Oct. 18: Wilson, Lazard, Cobb and Xavier Gipson.

Hardman ended up leaving the Jets after catching only one pass in five games, with no starts.

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