Isiah Pacheco details reasons for early career success
By Matt Conner
The Chiefs’ rookie running back spoke in depth about his mental and physical process for a strong rookie season.
Isiah Pacheco should be a much bigger story at this point. The problem is that he plays on a team already loaded with stars on both sides of the ball, including future Hall of Famers who are going to steal the majority of the spotlight at every turn.
That said, Pacheco doesn’t seem to mind. He realizes he’s in an excellent situation to learn from those very players, so even if a seventh-round rookie running back generating his level of production goes a bit overlooked on the national level, he’ll be just fine.
In fact, we’d be surprised in Pacheco had even thought about such things.
These days, the Kansas City Chiefs are in Glendale, Arizona to prepare for Super Bowl LVII in a number of ways—from practicing to play to also giving time to reporters and NFL causes. On Monday night, both Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles players and coaches took part in media week and answered a number of questions from myriad reporters. As part of the process, Pacheco provided some great insight into his early success.
“Seventh-round pick,” said Pacheco when asked about his mindset. “For me, I’m just blessed to have the opportunity. Once I had the opportunity, it was, ‘What do I do now that I have the opportunity?’ And that was just “work.” I love competing. Like my dad says, ‘Just keep working hard, son. Be the leader you are and it will show.’ That’s exactly what I have done.”
A major part of Pacheco’s posture as a rookie has been to soak up as much knowledge as he can. The good news is that he plays for a coaching staff with as much continuity as any other team in the league, one led by a legendary coach in Andy Reid.
“That’s when you go into the classroom and ask your coaches, ‘What do you think I need to work on?’ For me, I evaluate myself a lot, so I pick one or two things I need to get better at on the game that I played or the previous game to help me to get better at the next one.”
It also doesn’t hurt to have teammates who are all-time greats at their very positions, including the likely winner for this year’s Most Valuable Player award.
“I’ve continuously picked one thing to learn from the older guys when it comes to their routines and taking care of their bodies,” said Pacheco. “I’m a running back so I get hit a lot, so I gotta take care of my body. Asking Pat [Mahomes] and Trav [Kelce], the guys who’ve been playing games or know the ins and outs of this game and how to be successful, I pick those guys’ brains so I have a great way to be successful in this game.”
Pacheco not only sounds ready for the Super Bowl itself, but he also sounds ready for the space beyond. Coming out of college at Rutgers, Pacheco went straight into the pre-draft season which included a couple of all-star games, continuous workouts, the NFL Combine, the draft experience, and then onto the Chiefs’ offseason programming of OTAs and minicamps.
“I haven’t had an offseason yet,” said Pacheco. “There are guys in the same position now that are home and ready to watch a Super Bowl. For me, I played in two all-star games and there has not been a chill spot for me to just relax. It’s been football, football, football.”
Pacheco has put in the work and now he’s earned the rewards. Chiefs Kingdom can only hope he adds a Lombardi Trophy to his achievements before he rests for the first time in a while.