GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals are gearing up to host the Kansas City Chiefs as the two teams open their 2022 campaigns.
For third-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons, it’s a chance to go up against his hometown team.
“I’m from Kansas. I’ve been hearing a lot of smack talkin’ from Chiefs fans back home talking about, ‘Don’t hurt Pat,'” Simmons said.
Simmons played high school football for the Olathe North Eagles before attending Clemson.
“I kinda wish we were playing at Arrowhead. That would be my whole childhood right there,” Simmons said. “It’s definitely really cool. Got a lot of people coming to support, so I’m really excited to be able to open the season against them.”
It’s not just Simmons catching grief from Chiefs fans. His family and friends have been getting calls about the upcoming matchup.
“Everybody is a Chiefs fan in Kansas. My dads friends, they’ve all been calling him,” Simmons said. “My brothers friends, my friends. I’ve been converting them to be Cardinals fans, they still like the Chiefs a little bit, but I slowly got to work them in.”
While fans back home are rooting for Simmons to do well, they have one request.
“That’s their baby. I don’t blame them. He’s a phenomenal quarterback,” Simmons said. “Pat is definitely the fan favorite back in Kansas City, so I’ve been hearing a lot of, ‘Please take it easy on him.'”
For the Cardinals, Simmons will be tasked with limiting All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. A task easier said than done.
When asked what the game plan was to stopping Kelce. Simmons gave a simple answer, but delivered it with a smile.
“Just don’t let him catch the ball,” Simmons said.
The Chiefs and Cardinals kick off from State Farm Stadium on Sunday at 3:25 p.m. Central Time.