Clyde Edwards-Helaire enters a pivotal third season with the Kansas City Chiefs after two injury-marred campaigns have kept the running back from proving his first-round worth.
CEH believes that finally having a full offseason of work will help him improve in 2022. The running back's rookie offseason was mostly virtual due to the COVID-19 protocols. Then he dealt with offseason gallbladder surgery last year.
"This offseason, it was pretty much getting back to the basics, being able to have a full offseason," Edwards-Helaire told The Athletic’s Nate Taylor. "That was one of the things Coach (Andy) Reid and I talked about. He said, 'This is really your first real offseason in the NFL.' Really, health was the biggest thing."
In his first two seasons, CEH missed 10 regular-season games due to various injuries. In 2021, he earned 119 carries for 517 yards and four touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 129 yards and two scores.
Edwards-Helaire has been a full participant this offseason and even got some extra work in with Patrick Mahomes. He's hoping a normal offseason will lead to the leap he's been waiting for.
"There's always a sense of urgency for me," Edwards-Helaire said. "I feel I bring that intensity. I never really was injured in college. It's just one of those things."
While CEH remains the projected starter, the Chiefs made moves this offseason to bolster the backfield. K.C. signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers back Ronald Jones, who has a chance to push Edwards-Helaire for early-down reps. And the Chiefs brought back Jerick McKinnon, who shined in the playoffs. Kansas City also has Derrick Gore -- who showed flashes last year -- and rookies Isiah Pacheco and Jerrion Ealy battling for a roster spot. If Edwards-Helaire struggles or another injury strikes, he could see his carries siphoned.
Edwards-Helaire could see his pass-catching opportunities increase after the Chiefs revamped their pass-catching corps following the Tyreek Hill trade. The running back has spent this offseason working on his footwork and route running in anticipation of lining up across the formation. In 2020, CEH took just 29 snaps lined up out wide or in the slot, per Next Gen Stats.
"The great thing about this offense is that you can stick anybody anywhere," Edwards-Helaire said. "As long as we know what we're doing and executing, it can be unmatched depending on our matchups. I can line up from the 1, 2, 3 or 4-spot (at the line of scrimmage) and run any route.