For the past three seasons, No. 32 has represented leadership, drive, perseverance and courage in Kansas City. It has represented a fierce competitor known as the ‘Honey Badger’ and a trusted teammate by the name of Tyrann Mathieu.
As we know, the former captain will not be returning to the Chiefs organization in 2022. And so, that famed No. 32 jersey will change hands.
KC team reporter Matt McMullen revealed the new owner on May 13, and it’s a defensive teammate who could take on a similar role this season — second-year linebacker Nick Bolton.
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McMullen tweeted out three jersey swaps, including Bolton switching to No. 32.
After a whopping 32 yards receiving last year, a clean slate is probably a smart call for the big-name wideout whose game has fallen on hard times. Gordon is not guaranteed to make the 53-man roster in 2022.
The headliner here is still Bolton though. The 2021 draft pick was an unsung hero of the Chiefs’ defense down the stretch. He finished his rookie campaign with 112 total tackles (11 for a loss) and three passes defended, plus a long fumble recovery for a touchdown that won the game in Week 18.
Bolton feels like a worthy player to take on the responsibility of this jersey. The Missouri product should step into a leadership role with Anthony Hitchens no longer on the roster.
He also appears to have that sort of talent and playmaking ability to live up to the number. The Honey Badger may be gone, but he’s got a promising prospect taking up his mantle.
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Rookie Chooses Tyreek Hill’s Old Number
On the topic of ex-stars jersey numbers, rookie running back Isiah Pacheco chose Tyreek Hill’s iconic No. 10 knowing full well what it represents. He was asked about his selection during his May 8 press conference.
“Definitely know who wore it and I don’t feel any pressure,” the Rutgers product told reporters. “I wore this number before — my freshman year in college — and did a great job with it. It’s not the numbers [it’s] the players so the guy that’s wearing it, just got to go out there and execute wherever they need me.”
Pacheco may not have hands like the ‘Cheetah’ but he does have speed, tying Pierre Strong Jr. for the fastest 40-yard dash in the draft class.
The explosive runner has been talked about as a potential draft sleeper for the Chiefs in round seven. Pacheco joins what should be a competitive group in 2022, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ronald Jones II at the forefront of it.
The rookie will battle players like Derrick Gore, as well as UDFAs Jerrion Ealy and Tayon Fleet-Davis for a roster spot and a rotational role in this offense. Based on draft status, Pacheco should have the early leg up on his competition.