Jeremy Maclin Jerseys is lost, released by the Chiefs in a surprising move in June, but he is not forgotten.
“I was very young when he came in,” Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson said. “So what I’m going off are the things that he taught me.”
The Chiefs are counting on those lessons from Maclin, a leader on the field and in the team’s meetings room, to stay with Wilson and the other young receivers who make up the team’s least experienced position group.
Wilson and De’Anthony Thomas joined the Chiefs in 2014 … and they’re the position’s elder statesmen. Chris Conley is beginning his third year in the NFL, Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson their second. Robinson was primarily a special-teams player last season who logged five snaps on offense.
Combined, the group owns 12 career receiving touchdowns, led by Hill’s six last season.
None has come close to a 1,000-yard receiving season, with Hill’s 593 yards in 2016 the best year by any in the group.
But all spent time as a teammates with Maclin, the former Missouri star who arrived in Kansas City in 2015 after five years in Philadelphia. He found immediate comfort in his new environment with 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season.
Injuries slowed Maclin in 2016, when his numbers dropped to 44 receptions and two touchdowns in 12 games.
Still, the Chiefs believe they’ll benefit from Maclin’s short tenure in Kansas City.
“Jeremy was a great teacher for them,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Understand how you practice, how you play and prepare for both practice and games. These guys were lucky to be around him and have that opportunity from him.”
Now, the Chiefs’ wide receivers are developing their own approaches to leadership.
“Everyone leads differently,” Conley said. “Mac had his Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys own style of leadership. Mine is a little bit different. I will talk to guys one-on-one, not necessarily be a rah-rah guy in front of the whole group.
“I talk to each guy one-on-one, get a sense of where they are but also lead by example.
“These camp days are about to get really long. There are a lot of young guys in that room that haven’t gone through something like this or haven’t gone through it with us.”
True. Among other wide-receiver candidates for the Chiefs are draft pick Jehu Chesson, free agent Seantavius Jones, rookie free agents Marcus Kemp and Gehrig Dieter and second-year pro Corey Washington.
Wilson is the oldest among the returning Chiefs wideouts. He just turned 25.
The situation is unlike that of any previous Reid-coached team in Kansas City. When he arrived in 2013, Reid inherited veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who finished here second on the Chiefs’ career reception list. Two years later, Maclin was so valued that the Chiefs were penalized for violating the NFL’s anti-tampering rules in acquiring him.
Which means for the previous four years, the Chiefs went to training camp with an experienced, productive wide receiver.
In only one of those seasons did a wide receiver lead the Chiefs in receptions: Maclin in 2015. In other years, the Chiefs were led by running back Jamaal Charles or tight end Travis Kelce.
This season’s favorite wide receiver target figures to be Hill, the lightning-bolt talent whose six receiving touchdowns tied the team’s rookie record.
The Chiefs are lessening Hill’s special-teams load in camp, presumably to give him more snaps on offense.
“We put a lot on his plate last year, and he handled it great,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said. “We just need to make sure that as we go forward we put him in the right spots. We don’t want to overuse him.”
The Chiefs will look for more production from Conley, who improved from 17 to 44 receptions last season, and Wilson, who caught 31 passes.
The team also is giving Robinson a shot. He’s been running with the second team — Hill, Conley and Wilson play with the first — and Reid praised Robinson’s offseason work before camp started.
The group is competitive. The Chiefs figure to keep six wide receivers, and because Cheap jersey wholesale none has a long track record of success, the battles for roster spots could be intense.
Hill and Conley are locks. Wilson likely is, too. Thomas and Robinson possess special-teams versatility. The Chiefs have cut draft picks under Reid, but Chesson also has a special-teams background.
Jones has had a terrific camp and is a candidate to knock out.
If Maclin was still with the Chiefs, there would be one fewer spot available. As it is, a part of him remains with the team.
“Our guys are taking what they learned from him and are trying to help each other out,” Nagy said. “They’ve handled it with great success so far.”
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