Chiefs Could Face NFL Investigation After WR Tell-All - Sport News

Chiefs Could Face NFL Investigation After WR Tell-All

Wide receiver Mecole Hardman may have unintentionally gotten the Kansas City Chiefs in some hot water with the NFL.

Tampering accusations shirl around Chiefs after Mecole Hardman-Jets comments.

Hardman joined The Pivot Podcast for an interview that premiered on February 27. Although the episode touched on the 2024 Super Bowl, his pelvic injury and more, a segment on the wide receiver’s brief period with the New York Jets ended up stealing headlines.

Within what quickly turned into a Jets tell-all, Hardman made a passing comment that could impact the Chiefs.

“I’m telling you right now, I was so checked out — like, it’s over, I already talked with [Brett] Veach & Pat [Mahomes] like come get me bro! What y’all doing? What are we talking about? Man, come get me,” Hardman told The Pivot Podcast after noting that he refused to return punts ahead of Week 4 vs. the Chiefs because the Jets coaching staff didn’t give him proper notice.

 

Later, after Jets fans and media questioned whether or not this might qualify as “tampering,” Hardman backtracked on his initial quote.

“Never had talks with KC before the trade, so we can CLEAR THAT UP!” Hardman replied on X. “The Jets handled my trade on their own and did the right thing by sending me back to KC!”

At this point on February 28, talks of the Chiefs potentially tampering fizzled a bit — until Jets general manager Joe Douglas took the podium at the NFL combine. Point blank, a reporter asked Douglas if the Jets would ask the NFL to investigate Hardman’s “come get me” remarks.

Candidly, the NYJ GM countered: “I’ll just say those are comments that definitely resonated with us.”

Jets ESPN beat reporter Rich Cimini translated that answer as a “yes,” as did SNY’s Connor Hughes who added that “NYJ can, and likely will, ask league to look into that.”

What Is the NFL’s Policy on Tampering?

Typically, an NFL tampering charge would result in a fine or loss of draft capital. What is the official rule on tampering, however, and did Kansas City violate it ahead of the Hardman trade?

According to NFL Communications, “the term tampering, as used within the National Football League, refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.”

In terms of trades, specifically, here’s what the policy states:

“Unless a new club has received written permission directly from a player’s employer club, entering into discussions with a player or his agent concerning the new club’s interest in acquiring the player via trade or otherwise would constitute a violation of the Anti-Tampering Policy.”

“Under no circumstances should a new club rely upon any written or oral representation by a player or his agent that he has received permission to enter into discussions for a trade or negotiations for a contract. Nor should a new club rely upon a letter from the employer club to the agent or player granting such permission since employer clubs typically reserve the right to withdraw permission at any time, and may have already done so. Permission must be received by the new club directly from the employer club and should be in writing to protect the interests of both clubs.”

So, if Hardman reached out to the Chiefs about a trade without permission from the Jets, and either Veach or Mahomes reciprocated — and the NFL finds proof of that — KC might have something to worry about. If Hardman was simply making jokes in order to save face, this issue should be resolved without penalty.

Jets Punter Appears to Call Out Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman After Podcast Comments

This podcast interview sparked all sorts of responses, including a perceived retort from Jets punter Thomas Morstead — a 15-year veteran of the league.

“Be careful getting information from disgruntled former employees,” Morstead posted cryptically on X. “Getting beat out by a rookie free agent after being guaranteed millions of dollars is tough to deal with. Entitlement is a killer of opportunity. You have to earn it every year.”

To explain, Morstead is seemingly referring to undrafted rookie WR/returner Xavier Gipson beating out Hardman for a role on both offense and special teams with the Jets. Citing “entitlement” and having to “earn it” despite your salary.

In the past, Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh have admitted that Gipson forced their hand by winning the job over Hardman. The Jets GM reiterated that as his explanation for moving on from the veteran speedster on February 28.

As for Hardman, the former Chiefs draft pick is expected to be an unrestricted free agent for the second straight offseason when the new league year begins in March. He has already stated that he has zero interest in returning to the Jets.

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