Jeremy Maclin has never been one to mince words. And when it comes to football, the Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver also sets a high bar for himself.
So if you ask Maclin, 29, how the 2016 season went for him — on a strictly personal level — you had better be prepared to hear the brutal truth.
“It just wasn’t up to my standards — it wasn’t up to my standards,” Maclin said. “I’ve never been a stat guy. I’ve never been a guy to say ‘I want this, I want that.’
“I just … I didn’t play as well as I could have. And by not playing well, I feel like I let my team down. And that’s the most important part of it.”
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Considering Maclin’s personal connection to the state of Missouri, that’s not something he feels comfortable with. At all.
“I’m from St. Louis, I went to the University of Missouri, I’m back in Missouri, here in Kansas City,” Maclin said. “My fans, the Chiefs fans, Mizzou fans … they all deserve better from me. And that’s what I plan on doing.”
In 2016, Maclin finished tied for third on the team in catches (44) and third in yards (536). He also missed four games due to a groin injury, but when he did play, he struggled to rekindle his connection with quarterback Alex Smith, as the two appeared to be uncharacteristically out of sync at times.
It was a far cry from 2015, when Maclin — who was lured from Philadelphia with a five-year, $55 million free-agent deal — scored a team-high eight touchdowns, posted the club’s highest single-season reception total (87) since 2008 and became the first Chief to eclipse 1,000 yards (1,088) in four years.
“Absolutely, I think about it a lot,” said Smith, who took some accountability for Maclin’s drop in production. “It’s tough. Both of us are in on that and vice versa. For a lot of reasons, we weren’t as productive as we could be and should have been. I’m looking forward to remedying that.”
Things weren’t much better off the field for Maclin, either. He dealt with the death of his childhood friend, Isaiah DeLeon-Mares, in September and never really seemed to get out of the funk.
“That wasn’t the first time I’ve battled adversity — some people have died in my life while I’ve been in the NFL,” Maclin said. “But last year was just different. It kind of got to me.”
Maclin, however, credits his wife, Adia Maclin — the two were married over the weekend — for helping him pull through it.
“But you know what? Having my wife now, having her there and having her being able to talk to me and listen to the things that I had to say … and my family and my friends, kind of got me back on track,” Maclin said.
Maclin was clearly happy to share the weekend wedding with many of those same people, including roughly 10 current teammates (including Smith) and coach Andy Reid.
“That’s a once in a lifetime thing for most people,” Maclin said of his wedding day. “It’s a great moment in life and a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I’m happy I got to marry my best friend.”
And now, finally settled, Maclin is determined to prove that his 2016 season was nothing more than a fluke.
“All I can do is show y’all,” Maclin said. “I understand there’s a lot of people out there that think this and think that … but that’s fine by me. I’m going to play football.”