When Tyrann Mathieu arrived at the podium for his press conference following the Kansas City Chiefs’ loss in the AFC Championship Game, one couldn’t help but wonder if it would be the last time he would address the media as a member of the Chiefs.
Mathieu was asked about wanting to return to Kansas City in 2022, for which he was hopeful of that happening as he gave a visibly emotional response.
“I hope so. Ever since I came here, I just try to be the right kind of teammate. I try to play my part. It’s always that feeling that you could make more plays for your team but I’m hoping it works out,” Mathieu said. “I don’t have any control over that. I feel like everything that is within my control, I tried my best to handle it and do it with a smile. I love this team. I love this locker room. There are a lot of coaches I have great relationships with. I am hoping.”
However, Mathieu took to Twitter after his postgame press conference and said something that sounds more as if he’s likely not re-signing with the Chiefs this offseason.
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Mathieu: ‘I Leave With a Grateful Heart’
Responding to a tweet from KC Sports Network founder BJ Kissel, Mathieu had this to say.
“Will you always remember you & many more good people! Lot to be proud of over the past 3 years. I’m thankful and grateful. I leave with a grateful heart having got the chance to play for all you good people! Thanks,” Mathieu wrote.
Nothing has been said definitively by Mathieu or the Chiefs to signal Mathieu’s departure from Kansas City this offseason. But the defender’s above tweet sounds a lot like a player that has played in a Chiefs uniform for the last time.
Andy Reid on Mathieu’s Free Agent Status
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was asked about Mathieu’s pending free agency along with starting left tackle Orlando Brown. Despite expressing his feelings regarding those players, Reid noted there’s a lot to be figured out over the next couple of months.
“I think you step back here, and we love those guys,” Reid said during his press conference on Monday, January 31. “So, you step back, and you’ve got to look at the big picture of things and how that goes, but I’m not saying that. I just haven’t got to that point. We’re fresh out of this, and that’s Brett doing his deal, but I haven’t sat down with him and gone over anything. We just got done with this thing.”
The Chiefs have 22 players set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, per Spotrac. Among those players are Mathieu, Brown, defensive tackle Jarran Reed, defensive end Melvin Ingram, cornerback Charvarius Ward, wide receiver Byron Pringle, and running backs Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ contract will put a big strain on Kansas City’s cap in 2022, as he’s expected to have a $35.7 million cap hit this upcoming season, according to Spotrac. That’s not ideal for a team that’s still trying to keep their championship window open.