ATLANTA — Things just got real for Mecole Hardman, the Kansas City Chiefs' newest offensive player.
On Friday night, the former UGA star became the fifth wide receiver taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the third wideout selection of the second round (56th overall).
That's the good news.
On the down side, Hardman enters a situation in Kansas City that can be charitably described as 'sticky.'
Here's the deal: Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill – arguably the most explosive single talent in the NFL – might not play another professional down with the league, despite boasting two-year averages of 81 catches, 1,866 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
Why is this the case?
On Thursday, a media group in Kansas City reportedly released audio of Hill and his girlfriend secretly plotting ways to lie about the injuries to their 3-year-old son, as a means of avoiding questioning from Missouri police officials and diverting attention from the claims of possible child abuse.
If authentic, the audio cut of Hill and his girlfriend would be quite damning to his case with the NFL, which has a track record for conducting detailed investigations in the matters of child and/or spousal abuse.
And the notion of Hill potentially lying to police authorities may be grounds for an unprecedented suspension, if not a lifetime ban with the NFL.
Which brings us back to Hardman: the lightning-fast wideout enjoyed a breakout season last year, rolling for 35 catches, 543 yards and eight total touchdowns.
Interestingly, Hardman's athletic skill set compares favorably to that of Hill; and whether fair or not, those tie-ins will become even more prevalent, if Hardman gets vaulted into a starting role in Year 1.
Bottom line: the pressure's on for the player (Hardman) who just joined a franchise with sky-high hopes of making the Super Bowl in 2020.