KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Byron Pringle knew once the Chiefs entered the red zone late in the third quarter, the ball was coming to him on one of the Chiefs' pet plays, the jet sweep.
“I was going to run it hard, I don't care if it was all 11 guys was on me,” Pringle said after the game. “I just needed a vertical push and I was going to drag them in the end zone with me.”
He didn't need to do that. With a wall of blockers clearing the way, Pringle scampered through the traffic on a sweep to the left side.
“When I saw I had an open out, just told myself to run real hard and don't let nobody tackle me,” Pringle said. “Once I got in the end zone, I was like it really just happened. I got my first touchdown.”
A year ago, no one within the Chiefs organization could have imagined it would take this long for Pringle to make his first trip to the end zone. He shined as undrafted free agent in training camp in 2018, and capped off a fantastic preseason with four catches for 122 yards in the finale against Green Bay. The Chiefs already pencilled him onto the 53-man roster.
But Pringle suffered a groin injury in the game that ended his season. In the year since then, Pringle dedicated himself to improving his knowledge of the offense and grooming himself as a professional.
“A lot of people in my area look up to me, so I feel like I'm a big role model back where I'm from,” said Pringle, who grew up in Tampa, Florida before attending Kansas State. “As long as I'm doing good, everybody back home is doing good and they have a positive mindset to make it out where I'm from.”
Hearing the cheers when he went into the end zone meant a great deal to the former Wildcat, who has plenty of supporters in the stands for every game at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I always hear them screaming out Wildcat when I run in and off the field, so it's big to have those fans follow me from Kansas State to Kansas City,” Pringle said.
After the game, the emotion of the moment choked Pringle up in the locker room. He paused for a moment when talking about his teammates celebrating his touchdown and recalling the hard work he put after missing all of last season.
“It was great, they were proud of me, happy for me, because they know I've been putting in hard work and coming in with a positive mindset,” Pringle said “It's just a great feeling know them guys was behind me and cheering me on.”
He also wanted to get back to his family, so he could give his son a game ball.
“I'm trying to hurry up and get out there to my son right now before he fall asleep on me,” Pringle said with a smile.
Just like last season, Pringle finds himself in a battle for one of the final positions on the roster at wide receiver. He made a convincing case in training camp. During the preseason he's caught three passes for 26 yards in addition to his 6-yard touchdown romp. He's also returned three kick offs for 87 yards, including a 50-yard return against Cincinnati.
The Chiefs have two more practices this week before the preseason finale at Green Bay Thursday night, and Pringle plans to attack them the same way he has approached every day he's spent in the NFL.
“I'm coming back in, just attack each day with a positive mindset and positive energy,” Pringle said. “Get knowledge from the older guys, get knowledge from my coaches and just keep grinding.”