Josh Caldwell greeted wave after wave of the Kansas City media corps Saturday night near his locker, following his performance in the Chiefs’ 38-17 preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Lee’s Summit North High School graduate finished with four carries for a team-high 59 yards and a 4-yard touchdown run that brought a big-time celebration from reigning NFL MVP Patrick “Showtime” Mahomes, who showed the undrafted free agent running back from Northwest Missouri State University some love following his late touchdown run.
“I mean, he works hard every single day,” Mahomes, who led the Chiefs to an opening touchdown in his lone offensive series of the night, said of Caldwell. “When you get out there and work hard every single day, usually good things happen. You saw him make the run and before that I thought he was going to get in that time, but he got it back in his hands and figured out a way to punch it in there. So, it was definitely a special thing for him and his family. I’m glad he got to do it in Arrowhead.”
Caldwell came close to scoring on a 47-yard run prior to his 4-yard score, but he was able to reach the end zone one play later, thanks to coach Andy Reid’s compassion for the rookie.
“I might have just taken a knee there other than that the kid is from Kansas City,” Reid said of Caldwell. “He makes a huge run to get down there and you have to give him the ball (again), right?”
Caldwell might have had a more difficult time getting enough tickets for family and friends than solving the porous Bengals defense in his NFL preseason debut.
“I needed about 20 to 25 tickets for tonight’s game, and we got it done,” Caldwell said, grinning. “Glad it was an exhibition game, made it easier to get all the tickets I needed.”
Caldwell said he had been in Arrowhead Stadium a few times before playing in his hometown stadium Saturday.
“I saw about three or four games here – all up in nosebleed (seats),” he said. “The last game I came to was the Tennessee Titans playoff game a few years ago.
“But tonight was so much better than that. For a kid who grew up in Lee’s Summit and played football at Lee’s Summit North High School, tonight is a dream come true. I can’t wait to go and visit with my family and friends and share the experience with all of them.”
Caldwell, who played at Missouri Western State University before finishing his college career at Northwest Missouri, said he still follows his Broncos, one of the up-and-coming teams in Eastern Jackson County under coach Jamar Mozee.
“I still follow the Broncos, you bet!” Caldwell said. “Coach Mozee is doing some amazing things to turn that program around. I think they’re going to be one of the best teams in the metro area this season.”
The good vibes didn't last long, however, as the Chiefs announced that they had released Caldwell Monday night after signing tight end Manasseh Garner.