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Joe Douglas responds to Mecole Hardman’s criticisms of Jets: It just didn’t work out

Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman, whose tenure with the Jets didn’t last long last season, ripped his former team this week.

On The Pivot Podcast published Tuesday, Hardman questioned the culture and criticized the offensive coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, as well as quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Y’all can’t tell me about winning,” Hardman said on the episode. “I’ve been to four Super Bowls in five years now. Before, I had been to four SEC championships and three Super Bowls. I’ve won two of them. I know what winning looks like. I know what winning is. So y’all keep telling me certain things and I’m not going for that, because y’all are not doing it right.

“People feel like it’s too individual egos in that locker room. I’m telling them, ‘That’s not going to get y’all to win. It’s not going to happen.’ You have the KC locker room, it’s Pat [Mahomes]; it’s me; it’s Trav [Kelce]; it’s Nick Allegretti; it’s Noah Gray. We all on the same level. No one is treated differently. If coach [Andy] Reid says, ‘We don’t wear yellow cleats in practice,’ and Pat goes out there and wears yellow cleats, Pat’s going back inside and changing his cleats. Everybody treated the same.”

On Tuesday, Jets General Manager Joe Douglas addressed Hardman’s criticisms.

“Yeah, look, not to get into any specifics on what Mecole said,” Douglas said. “I’ll just say, look, we were excited to sign Mecole. He was excited to obviously join our team. It was a situation that really Xavier Gipson came on for us this year, and he did an outstanding job for us. Ultimately, we made the decision to move on from Mecole. Our process of that, and Mecole, he was excited to be here, and it just didn’t work out and a lot of that has to do with Xavier.”

Hardman admits he was “checked out” by the time the Jets traded him back to the Chiefs, allowing him to catch the game-winning pass in overtime of the Super Bowl. He had no role with the Jets, playing only 28 offensive snaps and making one reception in five games.

Hardman revealed on the podcast he talked to Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach before the trade, which is a violation of the league’s tampering rules.

“Like, it’s over. I already talked with Veach and Pat [Mahomes]. Like, ‘Hey, come get me, boy. What y’all doing? What are we talking about? Man, come get me,’” Hardman said on the podcast.

Hardman tried to walk back his comment after Rich Cimini of ESPN pointed out on social media that contact between the Chiefs and Hardman was a violation of the rules absent the Jets’ approval.

“Never had talks with KC before the trade, so we can CLEAR THAT UP! The Jets handled my trade on their own and did the right thing by sending me back to KC!” Hardman wrote on social media.

Hardman’s comment caught the attention of Douglas.

“I’ll just say those are comments that definitely resonated with us,” Douglas said.

Hardman is scheduled for free agency. It’s safe to say at least one team has no interest.