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Clyde Edwards-Helaire ‘More Relaxed Than Anything’ in Year Three

After a trying first couple of seasons, things are looking up for Edwards-Helaire in his third camp.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire's 2022 training camp got off to a rocky start when the 23-year-old was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Tuesday. As it would turn out, the Kansas City Chiefs' starting running back was only on PUP for a brief stint. He practiced on Wednesday, paving the way for him to continue the progress he's made this offseason. 

The past few months have been relatively normal for Edwards-Helaire, which is a welcomed diversion from the path his NFL career has taken thus far. Heading into his rookie campaign back in 2020, he was a first-round pick who got forced into navigating life as a professional football player during the early stages of a global pandemic. After failing to stay healthy during the regular season, gallbladder surgery rendered his 2021 offseason rather difficult. More injuries limited him last season, but this offseason hasn't come with any external challenges.

The Chiefs' offense, designed by all-time offensive mastermind Andy Reid, is one of the most challenging systems to learn in all of football. There really isn't any "mastering" it, as new elements get introduced routinely. It's easy to see how a young player can struggle to find high-level success in it early on, especially when injuries are thrown into the mix as well. With health and experience now working on his side, however, Edwards-Helaire finds himself feeling settled in as year three begins. 

"As far as the comfortability, as far as year three, I'm more relaxed than anything," Edwards-Helaire said. "Just understanding the offense and understanding the timing of everything, understanding the positions of everything. Actually learning different positions as far as the receiving standpoint and then understanding what the offensive line is trying to get done. It's different when you come in and the only thing you're trying to do is just learn your job."

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One area that Edwards-Helaire thrived in during his college career at LSU was the passing game. As a receiver out of the backfield, the Tigers standout was one of the better pass-catching players — not just running backs — in all of college football. He has yet to replicate that success in the NFL, and he hasn't even come close to doing so. Year three could see more balls being thrown his way, though, and Edwards-Helaire says he's feeling very confident in his ability to make a statement this year. 

“I am a thousand and ten percent confident in my hands," Edwards-Helaire said. "I feel like I am one of the best pass catchers, as far as running backs in the league. I will completely stand on that. That’s just one of those things that (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Eric Bieniemy) EB and (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid are trying to get implemented. It’s one of (Patrick Mahomes) Pat’s things too, like ‘I don’t have to just throw it to the receivers, I can throw it to anybody on the field.’ That’s what we do. We throw the ball to everybody."

The Chiefs' offense has undergone quite a bit of renovation this offseason, starting with the wide receiver position. Mahomes will be tasked with developing chemistry with players such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and rookie Skyy Moore over the course of the year. He also has a couple of new running backs in the fold: Ronald Jones and Isiah Pacheco. Kansas City's attack will look different this year, regardless of whether that's a good or bad thing. 

Now, instead of being one of the new faces on offense, Edwards-Helaire is a veteran presence and has an inside track in terms of making an impact this season. He's healthy, he's focused and he's seen and done more than any other running back currently in the Chiefs' offense. After being held back by one thing or another in 2020 and 2021, the third-year man will look to cash in on an opportunity to elevate his game to new heights in 2022.