Thursday, March 30, 2023
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Chiefs RB Jerick McKinnon on QB Patrick Mahomes battling through ankle injury: ‘It definitely inspires (us)’

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McKinnon was describing Mahomes’ efforts in last week’s Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it’s carried over to this week’s practices ahead of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

In his second season with the Chiefs, McKinnon has been a revelation out of the backfield for the passing game. He’s reminded everyone of the potential seen seasons ago that was lost by a woeful string of injuries that saw him miss all of the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. McKinnon posted career highs of 56 receptions, 512 yards receiving and nine touchdown catches in 2022.

On Sunday, he’s poised to do whatever it takes to aid his QB most.

“If he needs me, just be there, be available, have his back in pass protection – whatever it is. Keep him clean in the pocket,” McKinnon said.

Despite being inspired by Mahomes, McKinnon doesn’t take a lot of convincing to turn it up in the blocking department. The 5-foot-9 McKinnon is eager to try to cut mammoth pass rushers down to size.

“I got ‘little-man syndrome,'” McKinnon said when asked about his passing for blocking. “Yeah, I got ‘little-man syndrome,’ so I don’t know, maybe that’s what it is. And then like I was saying to someone earlier, it was something that I’ve never done in college, so obviously coming to the league, it being new and something I had to work at. (I) accepted the challenge and it has gotten me this far and (it’s) something that’s going to keep you around as a running back in this league. So, I take big pride in that area — more than running and catching the ball — for real.”

The little man’s made a big contribution this season for the Chiefs, and he’s looking to do so again Sunday in one way or another.

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