Chiefs activate RB Edwards-Helaire off IR for Super Bowl
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By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs activated running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire from injured reserve Monday and placed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on the list for the second time as they finalize their roster for the Super Bowl.
Edwards-Helaire, a 2020 first-round pick, has been out since sustaining a high ankle sprain during a win over the Chargers on Nov. 20. He was designated to return on Jan. 17, opening a three-week window in which he could be activated.
Edwards-Helaire started the first six games of the season before ceding time to seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco, who has become one of the Chiefs' breakout stars. Edwards-Helaire has run 71 times for 302 yards and three touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 151 yards and three more scores this season.
The emergence of Pacheco, along with veteran Jerick McKinnon, took pressure off the Chiefs to activate Edwards-Helaire before he was ready. Pacheco ran for 830 yards and five TDs during the regular season along with 121 combined rushing yards in playoff wins over Jacksonville and Cincinnati, while McKinnon scored 10 combined touchdowns in the regular season.
Hardman, who will be a free agent after the season, initially hurt his pelvis Nov. 6 during a game against the Titans. He was activated from IR on Jan. 4 but struggled to get healthy enough to appear in games, missing the Chiefs' regular-season finale against the Raiders and their divisional win over the Jaguars.
He finally suited up for the AFC title game against the Bengals, and he ran a couple of jet sweeps while catching two passes for 10 yards. It was while getting tackled on his second reception that Hardman reinjured the pelvis.
Hardman was among three wide receivers hurt in the game, forcing the Chiefs to use a patchwork group down the stretch.
JuJu Smith-Schuster had one catch for 7 yards before inflammation in his knee forced him to the sideline, and Kadarius Toney had one catch for 9 yards before spraining his ankle while attempting to make a cut.
Neither participated in practice last week before the team departed Sunday for Phoenix, though coach Andy Reid expressed optimism that they would be available for the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs also should get back wide receiver Justin Watson, who was inactive for the AFC title game because of an illness.
"(Smith-Schuster) is in a good place," Reid said. "The main thing is that we let that calm down. And right now, it's doing great, so very optimistic right now. And his want-to is all in there. But we'll just see where it goes."
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Updated February 6, 2023