Mecole Hardman left the Kansas City Chiefs for the New York Jets in the 2023 offseason, but his tenure in the Big Apple didn’t last long. The wideout couldn’t settle in at his new team, and with Aaron Rodgers injured, he ended up reuniting with Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead. In a recent appearance on The Pivot podcast, Hardman revealed he had already ‘checked out’ by the time the Jets played the Chiefs in Week 4.

I was so checked out, like, it was over with,” Hardman said. “I had already talked to (Chiefs general manager Brett) Veach and Pat (Mahomes), like, it’s over. Like, ‘Hey, come get me, boy. What y’all doing? What are we talking about? Man, come get me.'”

After four seasons in Kansas City which included two Super Bowl championships, Hardman expected to embrace a bigger role in a Jets offense that looked promising. However, much of their hopes relied on Rodgers, who got injured only four snaps into his New York debut.

The 25-year-old ended up returning to Kansas City, who also got a seventh-round pick in a deal where it exchanged a sixth-round pick. Hardman, who had only 28 snaps for just one reception in five games with the Jets, blames Nathaniel Hackett for his failed stint in New York.

You just got a new (offensive) coaching staff that came in and there’s no standard there. Everybody does what they want to do,” Hardman said. “Granted, the defense has more of a stabilized standard with the coaching staff on that side, so the defense has a standard. But the offense is just like, ‘We’ll just figure it out. It’s Aaron’s show. Let Aaron do what Aaron does.’ Then when Aaron goes down, it’s like we don’t know what to do.”

Hardman ends up being Mahomes’ partner for Super Bowl LVIII win

Hardman’s return to Arrowhead paid off, as he ended up catching the game-winning touchdown in the 2024 Super Bowl. The wideout hadn’t much made of an impression until then, but he certainly helped Mahomes in the biggest moment of the year.

Y’all can’t tell me about winning,” Hardman said. “I’ve been to four Super Bowls in five years now. Before, I had been to four SEC championships and three Super Bowls. I’ve won two of them. I know what winning looks like. I know what winning is. So y’all keep telling me certain things and I’m not going for that, because y’all are not doing it right.

Hardman believes the reason the Chiefs succeed is because there’s a team-first mentality, something he feels the Jets lack. Rodgers’ injury didn’t help, but the Georgia product claims the atmosphere was not good in New York anyway.

“People feel like it’s too individual egos in that locker room. I’m telling them, ‘That’s not going to get y’all to win. It’s not going to happen.’ You have the KC locker room, it’s Pat [Mahomes]; it’s me; it’s Trav [Kelce]; it’s Nick Allegretti; it’s Noah Gray. We all on the same level. No one is treated differently,” he added. “If coach [Andy] Reid says, ‘We don’t wear yellow cleats in practice,’ and Pat goes out there and wears yellow cleats, Pat’s going back inside and changing his cleats. Everybody treated the same.”

Jets GM reacts to Hardman’s comments

Jets general manager Joe Douglas reacted to Hardman’s comments on Tuesday, avoiding to fire back with another jab at the player.

Yeah, look, not to get into any specifics on what Mecole said,” Douglas said, via Pro Football Talk. “I’ll just say, look, we were excited to sign Mecole. He was excited to obviously join our team. It was a situation that really Xavier Gipson came on for us this year, and he did an outstanding job for us. Ultimately, we made the decision to move on from Mecole. Our process of that, and Mecole, he was excited to be here, and it just didn’t work out and a lot of that has to do with Xavier.”