Next Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will battle in Super Bowl LVIII. The latter is looking to become the first team in nearly two decades to win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies. For one of the Chiefs, it’s an opportunity to renew acquaintances with a franchise that he played prior to signing with Andy Reid’s team.
After four seasons as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, running back Jerick McKinnon signed a four-year, $30 million deal (via Spotrac) with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. His versatility figured to be a huge boost for Kyle Shanahan’s club, but he missed both that first season and 2019 with injuries. He returned to the field in 2020. He played in 16 games for the Niners, totaling 572 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. McKinnon added 239 yards on 12 kickoff returns as well.
He joined the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent in 2021 and when healthy, has been pretty productive. In 42 regular-season contests with Reid’s club, he’s reached the end zone 16 times – 14 of those scores as a pass-catcher.
McKinnon’s regular-season numbers in 2023 are somewhat modest, but he only played in 12 games. He finished with just 252 yards from scrimmage but scored five touchdowns. He was placed on injured reserve after the team’s Week 15 win at New England.
Chiefs could have Super Bowl hero Jerick McKinnon back for Super Bowl 58
Now comes good news for the eight-year pro, who missed Kansas City’s last three regular-season outings, as well as all three postseason contests.
In last year’s Super Bowl LVII victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Isiah Pacheco led the way with 76 yards rushing and a score on 15 carries. McKinnon totaled only four attempts, but it added up to 34 yards. His nine-yard run with less than two minutes to play set up Harrison Butker’s 27-yard field goal in the 38-35 win. He also caught three passes for 15 yards from Patrick Mahomes in the three-point triumph.
McKinnon (if he plays), Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire give Reid a stable of backs that could give the Niners’ suddenly-challenged run defense some big-time concerns.