Mecole Hardman denies leaking Jets' plans to Chiefs, Eagles

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman, responding to a published report and social media posts by former New York Jets teammates that accused him of leaking game plans to two opponents, issued a denial Friday.

"There were FALSE accusations made about me and MY CHARACTER!" Hardman wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "To set the record straight, I have never and would never leak game plans to another team. I have never been a person to give an opponent an upper hand. I always want to win no matter the circumstances!!!!"

The controversy was sparked Wednesday, when Jets players Sauce Gardner and Kenny Yeboah -- upset that Hardman ripped the team and its coaches on a podcast -- raised the issue in since-deleted posts.

Gardner was the first to post on X, saying, "[Hardman] is tripping out. We ain't [going to] talk about how our offensive game plan got leaked versus the Eagles, [though]."

A short time later, Yeboah shared a similar sentiment, also mentioning the Eagles game.

Later, SNY reported that the Jets organization suspects Hardman leaked their offensive game plans before their games against the Chiefs (Oct. 1) and Eagles (Oct. 15). The report didn't cite specific evidence.

The Jets played one of their best offensive games of the year in a 23-20 loss to the Chiefs, and they upset the Eagles 20-14.

The Jets declined to comment.

Hardman, upset with his playing time, was traded back to the Chiefs on Oct. 18 after signing a one-year contract with New York in March.

During his appearance on "The Pivot," a podcast hosted by Ryan Clark, Hardman was highly critical of the Jets and their culture. He said he was so disgruntled in New York that he refused to return punts in a game and begged to be traded.

"I'm telling you right now, I was so checked out, like, it was over with," Hardman said on the podcast. "I had already talked to [Chiefs GM Brett] Veach and Pat [Mahomes], like, 'Come get me.'"

Those comments fueled speculation of potential tampering charges. The Jets did nothing to defuse that notion, with general manager Joe Douglas telling reporters at the scouting combine, "Those are comments that definitely resonated with us."

Hardman denied on X that he talked to the Chiefs, his team from 2019 to 2022, before the trade. Hardman, who caught the winning touchdown in Super Bowl LVIII, is a pending free agent.