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Chiefs' Sammy Watkins 'Very Optimistic' He'll Return from Injury for Super Bowl

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) in action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)
Doug Murray/Associated Press

Sammy Watkins has been out since late December with a calf injury, but the Kansas City Chiefs receiver believes he will be back on the field for the Super Bowl on Sunday.  

"Feeling great," Watkins said Tuesday, per Adam Teicher of ESPN. "Still working out with the training staff and [athletic trainer Rick Burkholder], just going over everything so I can have a chance and possibly go out there and feel 100 percent or 95 percent or 85 percent, wherever I get at by Sunday. Feeling pretty good, very optimistic. Been having good practices."

The 27-year-old missed much of the season with a hamstring injury and then suffered his calf injury in Week 16, causing him to miss each of his team's first two playoff games.

Watkins appeared in just 10 games during the regular season and finished with a career-low 421 receiving yards.

Despite his limited durability, the wideout has been a valuable player when on the field and ranks third on the team in receiving yards per game (42.1), trailing only All-Pros Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. He also showcased his ability to step up in big games last year, tallying five catches for 98 yards in the Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers

The Chiefs could use that type of production against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who ranked eighth in the NFL in points allowed this season. The squad also held both the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers well below their scoring averages on the road to the Super Bowl.

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Though Kansas City had the No. 1 passing attack in football this season, Patrick Mahomes will need all the help he can get around him to secure a second straight championship.

Receiver depth could be especially important with Demarcus Robinson being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Mecole Hardman can pick up some slack at receiver, but there are few proven options behind him if Watkins can't play.

Byron Pringle is the only other receiver with more than one reception in 2020, totaling 13 catches for 160 yards.

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