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Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase adds ‘fire to fuel’ in dig at Chiefs

CINCINNATI — Ja’Marr Chase had a lot to say Thursday ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals’ showdown Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Bengals receiver started off by saying nothing stood out about the Chiefs secondary, a sentiment he shared about other teams. He then said the defending Super Bowl champions don’t have a lock-down cornerback like Jalen Ramsey of the Miami Dolphins. Chase added that Kansas City safety Bryan Cook, who is on injured reserve, is not comparable to Jessie Bates III of the Atlanta Falcons, who spent the first five years of his career with the Bengals.

When it was expressed that the comments could be seen as taking shots at AFC rival Cincinnati, Chase seemed to accept it.

“I’m just adding fire to the fuel,” Chase said. “They’re going to take this, run with it. I hope they put it in their locker.”

In previous years, the battle between the clubs has become one of the best rivalries in the NFL. In January 2022, the Bengals defeated Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game to advance to the team’s first Super Bowl in over three decades. A year later, Kansas City won the rematch on a field goal as time expired.

Chase, a third-year player from LSU, made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two NFL seasons and had his biggest career game against Kansas City. In Week 17 of the 2021 season, he set a franchise record with 266 receiving yards in a 34–31 victory over the Chiefs that clinched the Bengals’ first playoff berth since 2015. In two playoff games between the teams, he totaled 12 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Thursday marked a positive sign regarding Chase’s availability for Sunday’s game. Chase was a limited participant in practice, marking his first appearance since suffering a right shoulder injury in the Week 15 win over the Minnesota Vikings on December 16.

However, Chase said his status remains uncertain.

“I’m feeling good right now, but I’m taking it day by day,” said Chase, who added that the decision to play was his.

“I’m just adding fire to the fuel. They’re going to take this, run with it. I hope they put it in their locker.”

Ja’Marr Chase

Cincinnati (8-7) and Kansas City (9-6) enter Sunday’s game with less brilliance than in previous clashes. Kansas City has already suffered its biggest regular-season losses since 2017, the last year the franchise didn’t at least reach the conference title game. The Bengals are without starting quarterback Joe Burrow, who is recovering from season-ending wrist surgery, and are currently out of the playoffs.

But if Chase plays, he knows what to expect.

“They know I’m good, they know how to play us,” Chase said of the Kansas City secondary. “It is what it is. But it’s not like they have a superstar in their defense.”

On and off the field, the game was marked by exchanges of comments between the teams. Chase said he liked that aspect of the match.

“Hell yeah,” Chase said. “They’re the ones who talk the most crap—.”

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