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Custom Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Jersey Large

Referee Jerome Boger and his crew are receiving plenty of criticism Monday after an awful officiating performance in Sunday’s Week 14 game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.

There were plenty of missed calls throughout the evening.

Patriots rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry dove toward the pylon early in the fourth quarter for what looked like a touchdown. The officials ruled Harry stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line even though replays clearly showed he hadn’t. The officials likely cost the Patriots a touchdown shortly before the Harry mistake when they ruled Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce down by contact and blew the play dead despite a clear fumble and recovery by New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who had a clear path to the end zone.

Despite those glaring errors, the worst mistake from Boger’s crew might have been its inability to penalize the Chiefs the correct amount of yards on an illegal hands to the face penalty in the third quarter. Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif committed the penalty, which was the correct call, but Boger announced the infraction as a 5-yard penalty when the rulebook states it’s a 10-yard loss (click here to watch Boger incorrectly announce the penalty).

Mixing up penalty yardage would be understandable in most cases because the crew still has time before the next play is run to correct the referee and ensure the proper yardage is enforced. That didn’t happen, though, because none of the seven officials on the field noticed the error. The Chiefs, as a result, moved back from their own 44-yard line to their own 39-yard line. This Kansas City drive ultimately ended in a punt, which New England blocked to set up great field position for a possession that resulted in a Brandon Bolden touchdown run.

The Chiefs ended up winning 23-16 despite a late comeback attempt by the Patriots.

This kind of penalty mixup is inexcusable for any officiating crew, but especially for an experienced official like Boger, who’s in his 13th season as an NFL referee.

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Custom Anthony Sherman Jersey Large

FOXBORO — There was plenty for Anthony Sherman to celebrate on his 31st birthday.

Being in New England, 10 minutes up Route One from North Attleboro, Sherman’s frosting on the cake was the Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC West Sunday, beating the Patriots, 23-16

“To come in here and beat a great football team, it’s good, it’s a morale booster for us,” Sherman said of the Chiefs’ ninth win of the season to improve to 6-1 on the road.

In his seventh season with the Chiefs and ninth season in the NFL, Sherman, who turns 31 on Wednesday, is a a two-time All Pro selection (2014, 2018) for the Kansas City specialty teams and a blocking back on offense.

This season, Sherman has touched the ball just six times on offense with four rushes for nine yards and two receptions for 22 yards as he has been on the field for 24 snaps.

“We’ve been a little up and down this year,” Sherman said. “We’ve started to hit the ‘more consistent’ button. “This is a good time of the season to start playing well, this is what you look for. One of our goals was to win the AFC West and we did that.”

Sherman was on the field for 13 specialty teams situations during the first half Sunday, including two PAT kicks and two field goals as the outside left blocker.

Sherman was also in for a dozen plays in the second half, including four at fullback in the final minute of the game protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs ran out the clock.

Sherman also got into a jawing session with the Patriots’ Elandon Roberts on Kansas City’s kickoff after the Chiefs had taken a 23-7 lead.

“I’m doing whatever I can do to get on the field and help the team win — I’ll do it,” Sherman said.

Sherman was one of the four Chiefs’ captains on the field for the pre-game coin toss, calling heads, winning the flip and electing to defer possession of the ball to the second half.

Fortunately for Sherman, he had his No. 42 jersey. A container filled with Kansas City game uniforms and equipment was inadvertently shipped to Newark, N.J., after not being taken off the Chiefs’ chartered flight into Boston on Friday.

“I think my helmet was in there,” Sherman said.

The container was hastily retrieved and arrived in Foxboro 90 minutes before game time.

Sherman never could have envisioned his NFL career lasting so long — 137 games, 109 with Kansas City — with five straight AFC (six overall) playoff appearances.

A 2007 graduate of North Attleboro High, Sherman captained the Rocketeer football, winter track and baseball teams with 1,202 rushing yards and 20 TD’s to go along with 100 tackles at linebacker. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2006.

Sherman remains the Big Red career rushing leader with 2,537 yards and 48 TDs.

True to his “townie” roots, one of the most memorable moments of Sherman’s career was scoring a TD for the Rocketeers as a freshman against Attleboro High in the Thanksgiving Day game – playing that season for North coach Paul Sullivan, then for current AD Kurt Kummer over the next three seasons.

And that’s not forgetting that Sherman ran the 55 dash at 6.98 seconds and the 100 dash at 12.19 seconds as a North trackman, also putting the shot. And in the spring he tended to duties in centerfield and generally batted out of the No.3 spot of the order for the North baseball team.

Only two NCAA Division I programs in New England actively recruited Sherman, Boston College and UConn. Sherman envisioned more chances to improve under Huskie coach Randy Edsall and more playing time in Storrs.

Sherman was a fifth-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals coming out of UConn and played two seasons there before his rights were traded to Kansas City.

Now with three children, the eldest of which is five years old, Sherman may stay closer to Kansas City, but is always in contact with his Rocketeer family of friends.

Against the Patriots, Sherman was in on the game-opening tackle of Brandon Boldin at the New England 17; played at the upback position ahead of the Chiefs’ primary kick returner as a blocker; and was a wedge blocker for Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker, who hit a 48, 31 and 41 yard field goals-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.

Renowned for his community service projects, Kansas City resigned Sherman for a one-year, $1.02 million pact in March.

The 5-foot-10, 242-pound Sherman (who turns 31 Wednesday) may not be a regular with the offensive unit, save for blocking, “we have so many weapons, they don’t dare give me the ball,” chuckled Sherman. “I’m the last choice.”

The Chiefs won their first four games of the season and have now won four of five outings. Consistency has been an issue. The Chiefs have outscored foes 134-57 during the second quarters of games, but been out-scored 94-65 during the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs rank 24th overall in the NFL in rushing offense (94.5 yards per game) and 25th overall defensively (372 yards allowed). Kansas City scored just three second half points against the Patriots, but held New England to 2-for-12 on third down situations and Tom Brady to 9-for-17 passing in the second half.

“This locker room is awesome, we all have the same mindset,” Sherman said. “We’re all having fun and I’m part of it. It’s nothing better than being around a bunch of guys who just want to win football games. We’ve got a lot of football ahead of us.

“I made that goal 10 years (in the NFL) in my head and I’m a year ago,” he added. “I made that goal not knowing I’d be here or be in the league and even play three years. I’m in the best situation for me, I’ve taken full advantage and continue to do what I do. I’m just trying to be reliable.”

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Custom Travis Kelce Jersey Large

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There is an old tale that pops up from time to time, parts of which Chiefs coach Andy Reid still disputes, about a phone call he made to Travis Kelce when Kansas City selected the tight end in the third round of the 2013 draft.

They had a nice chat. Reid welcomed Kelce to the team, explained how he envisioned him fitting in. Then, Reid offered a warning: “Don’t screw this up,” he said, at least according to the story.

It made sense, too. Kelce put together a brilliant college career at Cincinnati, but the brother of longtime NFL center Jason Kelce also had run into some trouble. He was suspended the entire 2010 season for what the Bearcats called a violation of team rules, which turned out to be a failed drug test for marijuana, and many questioned his maturity.

“You have to understand that I knew Travis before we took him. I had his brother (with the Eagles) and he came to visit his brother all of the time,” Reid said, explaining that infamous draft-day phone call nearly seven years ago. “I didn’t ask if he was going to screw it up, or tell him that he was going to screw it up. I just said that you know how I operate, and welcome aboard — and that I’m probably not going to be the easiest on you. He said, ‘I got it.’”

Did he ever get it.

After missing most of his rookie year because of microfracture surgery on his knee, the athletically gifted ex-quarterback has made everyone who played a part in drafting him look like a genius. Kelce already has become the first tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and with eight catches for 74 yards in last week’s 26-3 romp in Chicago, he became the first with back-to-back seasons of at least 1,200 yards.

Kelce also eclipsed 500 receptions in just his 95th game, beating Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow’s record for their position by a full six games and setting a standard that should be tough to beat.

“It tells everybody that I’ve been pretty fortunate to be on the field the past four years,” Kelce said with the self-deprecating style he’s adopted during his career.

Asked why he’s become so difficult to handle, he replied: “I think it’s just the Kansas City barbecue seeping through my pores. It makes me a little slippery when I’m out there.”

Kelce isn’t the fastest player in the league, nor is he the quickest or strongest. He doesn’t have the best hands, either, with his share of drops along the way. But he might just be the best player in the league regardless of position at finding holes in the defense, and his ability to squirm away from defenders to get yardage after the catch is downright uncanny.

“Just how consistent he is on a game-to-game basis, it’s truly special,” said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose own record-breaking numbers are owed in part to Kelce’s play.

“He’s going out there trying to win and being a competitor. He doesn’t look at stats. He doesn’t look at that stuff. He’s just a competitor on that field who wants to win a football game and he does whatever he can to get himself or other players open. He’s a guy you want to have on your team.”

The reason for that isn’t just the numbers, though. That young and carefree and occasionally reckless kid who got into trouble in college has grown into a consummate leader, the guy that helps to set the standard in the locker room and rallies the rest of the team around him when they take the field on Sunday.

It’s why the Chiefs gave him a five-year, $46 million contract extension in January 2016.

“He has grown up tremendously,” Reid said. “The talent was always there, it has always been there. He is very gifted. He has a great feel. He loves playing the game. Then, he has been on the other side of it. He has been a quarterback, so he knows how to be quarterback friendly. There is something to be said for that. It was just a matter of growing up, having the responsibility that he had here and understanding that and handling that. I think he has done phenomenal with it.”

Reid pointed out that Kelce has been voted a team captain every year that the Chiefs have been to the playoffs, a sign that he is respected by his teammates. But the two-time All-Pro is also respected by his peers across the league.

He’ll be headed to his fifth straight Pro Bowl after the season, assuming the Chiefs aren’t headed to the Super Bowl.

“He’s a great player. There’s a reason he’s been doing the things he’s been doing,” said Bears linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who spent most of Sunday night chasing Kelce all over the field. “We just have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”

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Custom Mitchell Schwartz Jersey Large

(WIBW, Chiefs) – Six Chiefs have been selected for the 2020 Pro Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, Frank Clark and Mecole Hardman all received the honor. This is Kelce’s fifth selection, while it’s the fourth time for Hill and second time for Mahomes. The rest are all first-time selections.

Tyrann Mathieu, Mitchell Schwartz, Harrison Butker, Anthony Sherman, Anthony Hitchens and Dustin Colquitt are serving as Pro Bowl alternates.

The Pro Bowl will be played in Orlando on Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. It will be televised on ABC and ESPN.

Mahomes has started 12 games this season, completing 280 of 426 pass attempts (65.7%) for 3,606 yards with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions (106.2 rating). He’s started in 29 career games, recording 8,987 yards on 685 completions with 73 touchdowns and 17 interceptions (109.5 rating).

Hill has played in 10 games (10 starts) this season, recording 49 receptions for 727 yards (14.8 avg.) with seven touchdowns. He’s played in 57 career games (40 starts) recording 272 receptions for 3,982 yards (14.6 avg.) and 32 receiving touchdowns. Hill owns a league-leading 52 receptions of 25+ yards in his NFL career.

Kelce has started all 14 games this season, recording 86 receptions for 1,131 yards (13.2 avg.) with four receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. He’s played in 94 career games (87 starts) tallying 496 receptions for 6,367 yards (12.8 avg.) and 36 touchdown catches.

Jones has started 10 of his 11 games played this season and has recorded a team-high 7.0 sacks (-55.0 yards), six tackles for loss and 17 quarterback pressures. His career numbers include 31.0 sacks (-238.0 yards), 131 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Clark has recorded 6.0 sacks (-35.0 yards), 11 quarterback pressures and three passes defensed in 12 games (nine starts) played this season. Clark’s three forced fumbles tie a single-season career-high, while his Week 1 interception at Jacksonville (9/8/19) was the second of his career. He’s played in 74 career games (42 starts) with the Seahawks (2015-18) and Chiefs (2019) tallying 41.0 sacks (-245.5 yards), 170 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

Hardman has played in all 14 games this season (four starts). The rookie WR has recorded 25 receptions for 508 yards (20.3 avg.) with six receiving TDs. Hardman has returned 13 punts for 136 yards (10.5 avg.) and 23 kickoff returns for 530 yards (23.0 avg.).

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Custom Daniel Sorensen Jersey Large

Among Kansas City Chiefs fans, Daniel Sorensen has been a firecracker.

Since he joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2014, fans have tended to see the 29-year-old safety either as an up-and-coming homegrown talent or an overpaid depth player.

The more playing time Sorensen received, the more fan opinions appeared to turn negative — and this past offseason, they got worse. With the acquisitions of veteran Tyrann Mathieu and second-round draft pick Juan Thornhill — and with Jordan Lucas and Armani Watts already on the roster — there didn’t seem to be much reason to hold on to Sorensen and his $4.7 million cap hit.

But the Chiefs decided Sorensen was worth keeping.

Early in the year — as the Chiefs tended to use five defensive backs while working in various linebackers on passing downs — Sorensen only played about 20% of the defensive snaps. But after slot cornerback Kendall Fuller’s injury, his snap counts have increased — and it has resulted in some success for the Chiefs.

Let’s take a look at how the Chiefs have been deploying Sorensen — and why his role is becoming extremely vital at just the right time.
In the box

The most common way the Chiefs use Sorensen is as a dime linebacker. He was used this way before Fuller’s injury, but it was only in select situations.

On this play, Sorensen is lined up as one of two linebackers. He has man coverage on the running back out of the backfield. Sorensen does a good job angling out to the flat with the running back — and as the backflips his hips on the route, Sorensen is able to flip back around with him.

The Chiefs defense has been notoriously poor at covering running backs out of the backfield — and while Sorensen may not be the perfect guy for the job, he is the team’s best option. His angles can be off — and he doesn’t always play up to NFL-level athleticism — but overall, he has the skill set to match the shiftiness of running backs, along with the processing skills to identify where a back is trying to go.

So it would make sense for the Chiefs to play Sorensen as a linebacker against lighter personnel groupings — but his run defense isn’t ideal.

When playing the run from inside the box, Sorensen’s size becomes a problem — and his reads become cluttered. He doesn’t have the top-end explosion of a small linebacker or the size of a traditional linebacker. This makes it hard for him to challenge interior gaps by slipping or stacking up blockers. Even when working laterally from the box, he can be sealed off on the back side or slip under a block that takes him out of the play.

These limitations keep Sorensen from playing as a linebacker on any snap with 11 personnel. When he is in space, he does a good job tracking ball carriers — and bringing them down — but when he’s in the box playing the run, Sorensen simply looks like an average safety.
Apex defender

Since Fuller’s injury, there have been increased reps with Mathieu as the nickel cornerback — which often requires Sorensen to be on the field. Most of the time, he’s either in the box or back deep — but from time to time, he does end up as another slot or apex defender.

Here, lined up as an overhang off the edge, Sorensen is first responsible for anything coming into the flat, but also for any receiver that turns to a vertical route after flashing into the flat.

As the running back works outside, Sorensen is reading his hips and starts with a lateral slide — but with the back aiming towards the pylon, he quickly transitions to a shuffle. The flat route isn’t sold well — and the quarterback never sees him — but Sorensen plays the route perfectly by squeezing the running back to the sideline while keeping his eye on the ball.

Sorensen has always been a very opportunistic player. If a ball is lofting through the air in his direction or on the ground near him — or even if a receiver is in a vulnerable position for a big hit — he can take advantage. He shows natural ball skills and the knack for maximizing his opportunities to make plays, which is something that not every player — even a star player — can do.

So if he plays the run well in space and can excel in coverage, why not use Sorensen as a primary apex defender?

The problem is that when he is forced into man coverage against quality tight ends (and most wide receivers) — or when he is picking them up in zone coverage — his unnatural coverage mechanics show up. For a guy who has some of the best short-area quickness and change-of-direction testing on record, his ability to transition in coverage looks very segmented and stiff.

When asked to come downhill and attack a player in front of him — or shuffle/slide in one direction — he is fluid and does it at a good pace. But as soon as it becomes a multi-step process with direction changes and route diagnosis, he looks out of place. The issues are only compounded when he has to press at the line of scrimmage — and it often puts him behind when he’s also struggling to keep up.
Deep half

Another way the Chiefs utilize Sorensen is as a deep safety. While it draws a lot of ire from fans, it may be his single best role.

While Sorensen isn’t being asked to play deep on this play, it highlights the general skill set he displays at reading the field from the deeper alignment — that is, how safely he plays the position.

As he spins down, Sorensen is still able to see much of the field and process the route combination unspooling before him. He squares up to the swing pass — and even shuffles out over the top — but doesn’t commit downhill until the ball is thrown.

We see that same kind of safe play from Sorensen when he’s playing in deep coverage over the top.

It’s the same story against the run. While Sorensen has some issues reading the field when he’s close to the box, when he’s further away, he does a good job taking safe angles and reducing the number of directions the running back can cut.

Whether it’s against the run or pass, Sorensen does a good job staying over the top of potential threats, which reduces the chance for a big play. While this means he makes fewer plays than some other safeties in similar roles, it does serve a purpose.
The bottom line

While fans may have a wide range of opinions about him, Daniel Sorensen has settled into a niche in the Chiefs defense. He may not be stellar in any single area, but his ability to play all three of a safety’s roles at a competent level allows the Chiefs to utilize Tyrann Mathieu in multiple ways.

Furthermore, his ability to operate as a dime linebacker on passing downs will continue to give him snaps — even as the rest of the secondary returns to health. His sure tackling and ability to cover running backs out of the backfield give him an extremely important role — one that could be vital to the Chiefs down the stretch.

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Custom Kendall Fuller Jersey Large

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kendall Fuller comes from a football family, so Sunday night’s game between the Chiefs and Chicago Bears won’t serve as the first time he’s shared a football field with his brother Kyle.

But it’s the first time the brothers and former college teammates will stand on opposing sides of the field in an NFL regular season game.

Fuller said he and his brother call or text almost every day, but the schedule for an NFL player means they don’t get to see one another much once training camp starts each summer.

“During the season we rarely all are able to get together, so being able to get the whole fam out the Chicago and just chill, see our nephew and just relax, it will definitely be fun,” Kendall Fuller said.

The Fullers aren’t the only family with members on opposing sidelines. Special teams coordinator Dave Toub – who spent nine seasons in the same role with the Bears from 2004 to 2012, will see his Shane on the other side of the field. The younger Toub is an offensive assistant with Chicago.

The Toubs faced off last season in a preseason game, and the family took pictures and had a chance to talk with a lot less pressure. But dad says it’s always special when he gets to go back to Chicago, and having the family on hand is “going to be awesome.”

“I’m just so proud of him,” Dave Toub said. “He’s young, he’s 26 years old, and he’s in his second year in the NFL. From what I hear, he’s doing a really good job. I’m proud of him.”

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Custom Eric Fisher Jersey Large

At their Nov. 25 meeting, Denver Council heard from a Main Street resident who asked why the neat piles of leaves he’s raked have not been picked up. The resident said he called the borough in October when leaf collection began, and and again in November to no avail.

“Here we are headed into December and the problem still exists,” he said.

Borough manager Mike Hession maintained leaves in the 300 block of Main Street have been collected. Starting in October, leaves are collected throughout the borough. It takes a week to cover all parts of the borough and then the leaf collection starts again. Leaf collection lasts six to nine weeks, depending on need.

Hession said it could be that with diagonal parking in the 300 block, the resident’s leaf piles raked between parked cars cannot be safely accessed by the leaf collection equipment. He suggested the borough may need to post some parking spots as “no parking” areas on certain days to permit safe access for leaf collection equipment.

Councilman Matt Stover said he is aware of other municipalities who restrict parking at certain times to allow leaf collection.

Hession will look into this situation.

In other business, council:

• Heard East Cocalico Township Police Chief Darrick Keppley report Denver had 156 calls for service in October. This was 22.4 percent of the department’s total calls. Keppley reported East Cocalico Township approved hiring one patrol officer. Officer Eric Fisher became the fulltime Cocalico School District school resource officer in January 2019. This necessitated overtime for other officers. The SRO program is well accepted, useful and one the district intends to continue. Fisher’s spot needs filled.
Keppley said, “Two other officers intend to retire in 2020, one in February and one in March. The call is out. Anyone who has their Act 120 should come by the station. We now need three good officers.”

• Adopted an ordinance levying a $52 tax for the privilege of engaging in an occupation in Denver. The only change from the current ordinance is the appointment of the Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau (LCTCB) to collect the tax.•Authorized Attorney Bradford J. Harris, a partner with the firm of Good & Harris, to serve as backup solicitor or solicitor for Denver when the borough’s regular solicitor Neil Albert is not available. Albert is opening a solo practice in Ephrata.

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Custom Reggie Ragland Jersey Large

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Chicago Bears, 26-3, at Soldier Field on Sunday night behind a stifling effort by the defense and a strong performance by quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs raced out to a 17-point lead, holding Chicago scoreless until the final seconds of the third quarter, as Kansas City secured at least 11 victories for the fifth time in seven seasons under Head Coach Andy Reid.

Mahomes completed 23-of-33 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, scrambling for a 12-yard score on Kansas City’s first possession before finding tight end Travis Kelce on a 6-yard touchdown strike late in the first half.

Kicker Harrison Butker added a 56-yard field goal in-between Mahomes’ first two scores, connecting on the fourth-longest kick in franchise history and the longest since 1985.

The Chiefs were back in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter as Mahomes found tailback Damien Williams for a 14-yard score to extend the advantage, and while the offense was building its lead, the defense prevented Chicago from getting much going all night long.

The Bears made it beyond Kansas City’s 25-yard line just once, tallying only 234 total yards of offense and three points on the night. Defensive end Frank Clark, defensive tackle Chris Jones and linebacker Reggie Ragland each notched sacks on Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as part of the impressive effort.

It marked the fifth-straight game that the Chiefs held the opposition under 20 points and the second-straight time that Kansas City yielded only three points of offense.

Offensively, Kelce hauled in eight catches for 74 yards in the contest while becoming the fastest tight end to 500 career receptions in NFL history, doing so in just 95 career games. Mahomes, meanwhile, reached a milestone of his own by becoming the first player in league history to tally 9,000+ passing yards and 75 touchdowns in 30 games or less.

Additionally, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who tallied 72 yards on five catches, also notched a record by reaching the 4,000-yard receiving mark faster than any player in franchise history.

All three players contributed to Kansas City’s fifth victory in a row and seventh road win of the year, marking the Chiefs’ most road victories since 1966.

The Chiefs return to Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday for a divisional matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers to wrap up the regular season before kicking off the postseason.

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Custom Tyreek Hill Jersey Large

Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill calls himself “The Cheetah.”

No one else in the NFL could say that with a straight face.

“Special, special, special speed,” Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack said.

NFL Next Gen Stats began tracking the league’s fastest ball carriers in 2016. That year, Hill ran 23.24 mph and 22.77 mph on plays 10 weeks apart. No one in the league has topped either mark since.

“It’s a different speed,” said Bears coach Matt Nagy, who coached Hill in 2016-17. “There’s no one in the NFL that has that speed. They might think they have that speed, but they don’t.”

Not the Bears’ Tarik Cohen or Taylor Gabriel or any of the NFL’s other speed demons.

Hill will test safeties Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix all night Sunday.

“Not just our safeties — a lot of safeties,” Nagy said. “He can fly. Every team knows that. Every defense knows it. We’re well aware of that.”

Hill comes to town at a unique time for the Bears’ two starting safeties. Jackson is trying to justify his Pro Bowl berth, which was announced this week, despite having only one interception all season. Clinton-Dix, a pending free agent, has two games left to prove he’s worthy of the lengthy contract that eluded him last offseason.

The Chiefs average 28.1 points per game, fourth-most in the NFL and the most of any team the Bears have played this season. In their last home game, the Bears shut down the Cowboys, who still lead the NFL with 434 yards per game.

Sunday’s game will have more at stake symbolically. The safeties will be the last line of defense against quarterback Patrick Mahomes poster-izing the Bears on national television — and rubbing his 2017 draft selection in the noses of every Bears fan still upset the Bears traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky instead.

“He’s like a fighter,” Mack said of Mahomes. “You see it on the film. He’s breaking tackles and throwing the ball down the field. You can tell he keeps his eyes down the field.”

Mahomes often looks for Hill when he does. Hill is only 5-10, 185 pounds, but he manages to play even bigger.

“He’s his own type of player,” Bears slot cornerback Buster Skrine said. “He can jump, too, being a smaller guy.”

Hill, who was named to his fourth Pro Bowl in as many seasons, is one reason Mahomes makes running the Chiefs’ offense look so easy.

“Knowing his speed — knowing he’s a vertical threat, guys kind of get scared and give that space and back up,” Jackson said. “So a lot of stuff comes open underneath.”

Tight end Travis Kelce was a stud before the Chiefs ever signed Hill, but the two have proven a deadly combination. With safeties worried about Hill going deep, Kelce is able to work freely in the slot and the middle of the field. This season, he’s seventh in the league — and tops among tight ends — with 1,131 receiving yards.

“It stresses the defense,” Skrine said. “It definitely keeps your safety back. You can’t be as aggressive as a safety. It stresses your defense. It gives people opportunities underneath to get a one-on-one matchup.”

Or they go deep.

Hill’s longest catch of the season this year is a 57-yard touchdown pass. The Bears’ longest is a 53-yarder by Gabriel.

Hill has five catches of 40-plus yards. The entire Bears team has two.

That’s some speed.

“Maybe 2.0 DeSean Jackson,” Clinton-Dix said, looking for a comparison. “They call him ‘Cheetah’ for a reason. He’s explosive when he gets the ball in his hands. We just have to be physical, man, and get him on the ground as soon as possible. We’ve got to do our best to contain this guy.”

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Custom Demarcus Robinson Jersey Large

Kansas City could be the site of a 2020 comeback for free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant.

On Sunday night, the All-Pro receiver was asked by a fan on Twitter about a comeback to his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. While Bryant did confirm that he would entertain a reunion in Dallas next season, he also listed the Kansas City Chiefs among four other contenders he is open to playing for.

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The 31-year-old wideout hasn’t played meaningful NFL football in two years. Bryant did sign with the New Orleans Saints in November 2018, however, a torn Achilles tendon during his second practice with the team ended his season before it could even begin.

Prior to New Orleans, Bryant spent his entire seven-year career with the Cowboys who selected the Oklahoma State product with the first round (24th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. Named to three Pro Bowls throughout his career, the 6’2,” 220-pound playmaker has 531 receptions, 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns to his name – including a career-high 16 scores during his only All-Pro campaign in 2014.

Back on July 30, Bryant tweeted that he has “no interest in playing football right now,” citing his mental health as a contributing factor in the decision.

About a month later, the Cowboys all-time receiving touchdown leader tweeted that he’d turned down a lucrative multi-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, again citing his mental and physical health. The tweet has since been deleted.

“I turned down 30+ million from the ravens… all because how I felt and I wasn’t going to disrespect their organization and myself,” Bryant wrote on August 25. “I know what I can do if my mind and body is on the right track.”

In early November, however, Bryant shared that he was a couple weeks away from reaching out to NFL teams looking to boost their receiving corps. Given his current status as a free agent, it appears that no team took him up on his offer.

Outside of 1,200+ receiving yards from All-Pro TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City has relied on major contributions from five primary receivers this season – Tyreek Hill (799), Sammy Watkins (665), Mecole Hardman (508), Demarcus Robinson (425), and Byron Pringle (170).

With Kelce under contract through the 2021 season and speedsters Hill and Hardman signed until 2023, the Chiefs’ core pass catchers should remain intact for at least two more seasons. Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, the 25-year-old Robinson, who has put together a career year, is the only core receiver projected to become an unrestricted free agent.

The wild card that could determine the need for Dez Bryant’s services, however, is Sammy Watkins. Speculation surrounding the 26-year-old’s future in Kansas City has grown as the season has progressed. The former No. 4 overall pick is under contract through next season with a projected 2020 salary cap hit of $21 million, up from his current cap hit of $19.2 million.

Watkins’ contract structure allows the Chiefs a relatively cheap out after this season, though. Should Kansas City choose to release the sixth-year wideout, they would only incur $7 million in dead cap money, but would receive $14 million in cap savings. If the interest is mutual between Bryant and the Chiefs this coming offseason, the team’s financial decisions on Robinson and Watkins will be a telling sign of what’s to come.