Mecole Hardman had yet to put his head on the pillow for some shut eye after a night of partying with his Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs teammates when he sat down in the Fontainebleau hotel in the wee hours Tuesday morning in Las Vegas. He was making the rounds on all three of the network national morning shows.
“You know they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?” Hardman said on NBC’s “Today” Show. “It’s just been a little partying. We had an afterparty with the team after the game. I kind of ventured off and did a little something here and there, but I’m here, though. I’m here talking to y’all.”
It was quite a journey for the former Georgia football wide receiver who was traded from the New York Jets in mid-October back to the Chiefs where he had won two Super Bowl titles previously.
Hardman assured a third when he snagged a 3-yard overtime touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to give the Chiefs a 25-22 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
“I remember everything up until after the catch,” Hardman said on CBS ‘Mornings.’ “So basically I remember the play call. I knew the corner dropped back. I knew the ball was going to come to me, but when I caught the football, I completely just like was lost in reality. Then finally I just saw Pat running to me and just like ‘Well, you’re a champion, you know that?’ I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ That’s when the celebration started.”
The play, according to veteran NFL reporter Peter King of NBC Sports, was called “Tom and Jerry.” Hardman went in motion from right to left and then turned around and caught the game-winner.
Hardman was a second round pick of the Chiefs in the 2019 draft, the highest a Bulldog wide receiver had gone since first round pick A.J. Green in 2011.
Hardman was a four-year starting quarterback at Elbert County High. After working at defensive back his first season at Georgia, he played wide receiver for two seasons. He finised with 34 catches for 532 yards and seven touchdowns in his final Georgia season in 2018. He played on Georgia teams that featured its running backs, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and later D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.
Hardman and Travis Kelce shared a moment on the field after the game and the Chief’s star tight end’s girlfriend, superstar singer Taylor Swift, offered him congratulations.
Hardman said his baby son, Mecole Hardman III, turns one this week. He’s expecting a baby daughter in May with girlfriend Chariah Gordon.
“It’s been a roller coaster man,” Hardman, who was traded for two late round draft picks, told CBS. “Get to New York. You’re trying to get a new place and that didn’t work out. Come back to K.C. and get a new place. This was a roller coaster up and down but I wouldn’t have it no other way.”
Hardman was asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about chasing a three-peat next season with Kansas City.
“I’d be grateful to be able to return to this team and be able to play again with them,” he said. “If that’s in the cards, I’d love for that to happen.”