As the cliche says, actions speak louder than words. If that’s the case, Clyde Edwards-Helaire made quite the statement on Monday night. If anyone was expecting the Kansas City Chiefs rookie to quietly cede his place in the depth chart to Le’Veon Bell, it seems like that won’t be the case.
In addition to his strong on-field play, though, Clyde Edwards-Helaire also talked the talk after the game. That combination of actions and words sent head coach Andy Reid the best message possible: the young running back isn’t backing down from anyone.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is facing new competition from Le’Veon Bell
On paper, no one dreams about being the 32nd pick of the NFL draft. For Clyde Edwards-Helaire, however, things couldn’t have worked out any better.
On draft night, the LSU running back slipped to the end of the first round but landed in a pretty perfect situation. He joined the Kansas City Chiefs, who, despite a wealth of offensive riches, didn’t have a legitimate top-tier running back, and stepped immediately into the starting lineup.
At first, that situation paid off; Edwards-Helaire rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in his NFL debut and became the talk of the league. After that, however, his production tailed off.
The Chiefs also signed Le’Veon Bell after the veteran running back parted ways with the New York Jets. That move seemed to cast Edwards-Helaire’s immediate future into question; while the Chiefs weren’t giving up on him after five games, the rookie would no longer be the unquestioned top dog in the backfield.
Sending Andy Reid a massive message on Monday night
In the lead-up to Monday night’s meeting with the Buffalo Bills, everyone on the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff said all the right things about Clyde Edwards-Helaire, despite their acquisition of Le’Veon Bell. On the field, however, the rookie running back made a statement of his own.
Between the Buffalo rain and the Bills defense daring Patrick Mahomes to beat them through the air, Edwards-Helaire had a career night. The running back chewed up 161 yards of turf on 26 carries; the only strike against him on the night was nearly coughing up a fumble, but a booth review showed that he lost the ball after his knee touched the turf.
If you believe that actions speak louder than words, Edwards-Helaire sent a major message to Andy Reid. Every player responds differently to adversity; the rookie running back made it clear that he’s not going to back down from any challenge, even the arrival of Le’Veon Bell.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire also sent a positive message about working with Le’Veon Bell
Clyde Edwards-Helaire didn’t only let his play do the talking, though. After the game, he directly addressed the arrival of Le’Veon Bell; again, he hit all the right notes.
“Talking to Le’Veon, he’s another piece to the puzzle,” Edwards-Helaire said, according to Nate Taylor of The Athletic. “From here, I just feel like we can only go up. Le’Veon is older than me. I’m still in my rookie year, so, ultimately, anything that I can do to pick his brain and gain any knowledge from him, I’m there for it.”
While you could cynically say that Edwards-Helaire is putting on a happy face for the media, his words, when taken in combination with his actions, send the best possible message to Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs brass. The rookie running back isn’t going to pout about losing touches or intimidated by some internal competition; instead, he’s ready to get down to business and work alongside the NFL veteran.
At the same time, the Chiefs offense also sent a pretty terrifying message to the rest of the league: dare us to run that ball at your own risk.