Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you’re saying it to a player who epitomized the rejuvenation of a city and a franchise starving for a championship.
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Lead Writer – @ChiefsFocus
Honey Badger –
This feels all too familiar. After all, when we signed you in 2019 it signaled the end of an era for another beloved Chiefs safety – Eric Berry. We all wondered what life would be like with you patrolling the back 1/3 of the field compared to EB. Could 32 do it like 29 did? We didn’t know then, but we certainly know now.
We all knew we were getting a supremely talented player. Were there question marks about your past? Sure. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re young. You proved to us in your time in KC that you had grown into a man in almost every sense that we could hope for – with your family, in the community, and as a leader on and off the field for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Before we even try to sum up what you did for the Chiefs on the field, we’d be shortsighted if we didn’t acknowledge your contributions to the community. Specifically, underprivileged children here in KC, Houston, and your hometown of New Orleans. Whether it was Tyrann’s Turkeys at Thanksgiving, your backpack giveaway for kids as schools got back into session, Tyrann’s Tech Zone, Tyrann’s Christmas Blessing, or the Heart of a Badger Youth Camp, you’ve impacted the lives of children in New Orleans and your temporary home in a way that will long outlast your time with the Chiefs.
Chiefs Kingdom saw that, too. The community got behind you and made sure the world saw your efforts, winning the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year Charity Challenge $25,000 donation to your charity behind an outpouring on social media for the causes you have so selflessly championed. Special causes and special people deserve special recognition. It was earned, not given.
On the field, what can we say? You were one of the most electric defenders that has ever stepped foot onto the hallowed ground of Arrowhead Stadium. Whether it was a timely interception, a forced fumble, a big sack, or a perfectly placed form tackle to stop a play dead in its tracks, we were behind you. We cheered louder when you called for it. Even louder than that when you gave us reason to time and time again after big plays you made regularly. Regardless of what trolls on the internet try to tell you, the Kingdom loved you. We still do, and we always will.
Three years in Kansas City doesn’t seem like enough, but when we look back on this era of Chiefs football, we will remember the electricity you brought on the defensive side of the ball just as we will remember the showstopping talent Mahomes has brought to the offense. You brought the three best seasons of football you ever played personally to our defensive unit and produced the three best years of defensive intensity we’ve seen in a long time. It was evident when you were not on the field – just as evident as it was when you were on it.
From day 1 things were different – the speed, the intensity, and the heart of the defense resembled that of a lion, or I suppose you could say that of a Honey Badger. Three years, two first team All-Pro selections, two Pro Bowls, 13 interceptions, countless huge plays in huge games, and a Super Bowl 54 championship. You were a key in bringing a title to a team and a city that was starving for one. For that, we will be forever grateful.
Prior to Super Bowl 54, as everyone has seen by now, you addressed the defense before taking the field. While there are countless Tyrann Mathieu pregame speech videos that could make anyone run through a wall, this one stood out as impactful to me.
“We need energy. We need oneness. We need to be remembered.”
You brought an energy that our defense hadn’t seen since 58 was leading the charge. You created oneness on a unit that had been dragged for the previous year’s failures in not getting to the Super Bowl. And you made sure that that team, the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, would never be forgotten.
For that, and everything I mentioned before (and more), we will never forget you. Thanks for everything Honey Badger, and best of luck in the next chapter of your career.
- Chiefs Kingdom