KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the short time he’s been with the team Byron Pringle has experienced the full gamut of emotions with the Kansas City Chiefs.
An undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Kansas State, Pringle became an integral part of the Chiefs’ offense for the first time in their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night.
When wide receiver Sammy Watkins went down with a hamstring injury early in Sunday’s game, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid called upon Pringle, who came through with his top receiving performance of his young NFL career.
“You just have to come prepared,” Pringle said. “You never know when your number is going to be called, so you need to know the offense and take advantage of your opportunities.”
Pringle turned in a career-best 103 receiving yards, catching a team-high six passes while being targeted by quarterback Patrick Mahomes nine times, most among all Chiefs’ pass-catchers Sunday.
Pringle also recorded his first NFL touchdown, coming via a dodging, on-the-run, 27-yard pass from Mahomes. He avoided a sack on third-and-18 and found Pringle in the end zone during the second quarter of the Chiefs’ first loss of the season, a 19-13 setback to the Colts.
“It doesn’t feel great (because of the loss),” Pringle said. “I want to be celebrating with my team, so we’ll get back in here (in practice) and get everything situated and move on to next week (and a home game on Sunday with Houston Texans).
“One thing about Mahomes is that you have to stay alive, keep moving, Pringle said, “because he will find you, anywhere on the field.”
Pringle and his teammates did have a little fun with his first touchdown, as Pringle broke out the Mas Macarena dance, a Spanish international hit song from in the 1990s, performed by Gente de Zona, featuring Los Del Rio.
“I don’t know a lot about it,” Pringle said, “but I do how to do it (the dance) a little bit.”
Pringle averaged 17.2 yards per catch in Sunday’s game, which pushed his season and career total to eight receptions for 123 yards.
Rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman added four catches for 79 yards and tight end Travis Kelce caught four balls for 70 yards, as Mahomes completed 22 of 39 passes for 321 yards, including Pringle’s touchdown.
Star wideout Tyreek Hill (clavicle injury), who returned to practice last week, remains questionable for Sunday’s game against the Texans, which will kick off at noon Sunday at Arrowhead.
The same goes for Watkins and his hamstring injury, meaning we’re likely to see more of Pringle against the Texans this week.
Pringle watched from the sidelines for most of the 2018 preseason before he finally got an opportunity in the preseason finale against the Green Bay Packers. He had a team-high in receptions (four) and receiving yards (122) in the game, but suffered ankle injury and was later placed on injured reserve.
After being cut and then re-signed to the practice squad a couple times early this season, it appears that Pringle is settling in to whatever role the Chiefs need him in.
“I’ve just come in with the mindset to never give up,” Pringle said. “I just kept a positive mindset and positive image every day.
“I went by one of (former Kansas State head football coach) Bill Snyder’s rules in never giving up. I’ve been in tougher situations and have overcome adversity before, so I always keep a positive mindset.”