Rookie Rashee Rice has become the Chiefs’ best WR. His mantra: ‘Don’t be soft’

Ben Arthur

AFC South Reporter

LAS VEGAS — Rob Likens knew right away that Rashee Rice was an NFL talent.

His first step for a receiver his size jumped out. He seemed to have an innate ability to get his body between opposing defensive backs and the ball. But what jumped out to Likens about the talented wide receiver’s demeanor was that he was a true performer. He relished competition on the biggest stage.

As a senior at SMU, five of his seven games with at least 99 receiving yards came on the road, including his season-high 193-yard outburst against Maryland in the third week of the season, a performance that put him on pro scouts’ radar. 

“His best games were against the best DBs that he faced,” Likens, SMU’s associate head coach, co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, told FOX Sports. “His lack of fear of failure is, I think, what has helped him do what he’s doing right now.”

The second-round rookie has now been showing the Chiefs, and the rest of the NFL world, that he’s a big-moment player. 

From Week 12-17, his last six games of the regular season (Kansas City rested starters in Week 18), he tied for third in the league with 43 receptions and was fourth with 518 receiving yards, according to Next Gen Stats. In the Chiefs’ wild-card game against the Dolphins, one of the coldest games in NFL history, Rice set franchise rookie playoff records with eight receptions for 130 yards. 

When Kansas City has needed to elevate its game — the team’s offensive issues this season, most notably drops by the wide receivers, have been well documented — Rice has stepped up. He’s been Patrick Mahomes’ most trusted target not named Travis Kelce, showing that he could be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver of the future. 

Rice set Chiefs rookie records with 79 receptions and seven receiving touchdowns in the regular season. He also finished second for a rookie in team history with 938 receiving…


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Publish date : 2024-02-09 23:09:21

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