Jets GM Joe Douglas says 'it just didn't work out' with WR Mecole Hardman

Mecole Hardman had a lot to say about the New York Jets lack of direction on offense and winning culture on Tuesday.

Joe Douglas briefly addressed the former Jets remarks when he took the podium on Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine.

"I'll just say those comments definitely resonated with us," Douglas said.

Douglas, however, refused to get into the weeds of Hardman's criticisms, and instead chose a diplomatic response when media members pressed him. Hardman signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract last offseason to join New York, but played in only five games with no starts.

"I'll just say, look, we were excited to sign Mecole," Douglas said. "He was excited to obviously join our team. Xavier Gipson really came on for us this year and he did an outstanding job for us. So, ultimately, we made a decision to move on from Mecole, but our process of adding Mecole, he was excited to be here and it just didn't work out. And a lot of that has to do with Xavier."

In short, Hardman, who was traded back to the Kansas City Chiefs in October and caught the winning touchdown in Super Bowl LVIII, said the Jets coaching staff lied to him, there was no meritocracy or a plan in place when Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down in the season opener.

All of this rubbed Hardman, who is now a three-time Super Bowl champion, the wrong way and caused him to mentally check out as a member of New York before they dealt him back to Kansas City.

"I'm telling you right now, I was so checked out, like, it was over with. I had already talked to [Chiefs GM Brett] Veach and Pat [Mahomes], like, 'Come get me,'" Hardman said on "The Pivot."

To be clear, if that was the case, then that would count as tampering, as opposing teams aren't allowed to make contact with players or coaches. So Hardman went on X, formerly Twitter, to clarify those remarks.

"Never had talks with KC before the trade, so we can CLEAR THAT UP!" Hardman said. "The Jets handled my trade on their own and did the right thing by sending me back to KC!"

While Douglas refrained from responding any further to Hardman's comments, Jets punter Thomas Morstead decided to subtweet Hardman on X.

"Be careful getting information from disgruntled former employees," Morstead said. "Getting beat out by a rookie free agent after being guaranteed millions of dollars is tough to deal with. Entitlement is a killer of opportunity. You have to earn it every year."

In general, being beat out by a rookie free agent is a very difficult pill to swallow, though being responsible, in no small part, for his team winning the Super Bowl, likely cancels that feeling out for Hardman at this point.

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