Even after NFL rookie nod, Chiefs’ Nick Bolton still looking to improve every week

Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton was named NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month earlier this week, but he’s still looking to improve in his first season.

“When I was actually in the locker room, one of my linebackers was telling me congratulations,” Bolton said. “I was like, what for? And he said, ‘Oh you won (Defensive Rookie) of the Month, so I was ecstatic.”

And with good reason. Bolton was fantastic in October with 43 tackles, seven for loss.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid approves of his work.

“Fifty-four is one of my favorite guys because he’s a Mizzou guy — go Tigers,” Reid said. “He’s done a heck of a job for us.”

Bolton said he’s gotten a lot of help along the way, starting in the offseason, to get to this point.

“All those guys that were here, they already had an idea of the scheme and tried to teach me the ins and outs of it,” Bolton said. “And in OTAs, I took it seriously to learn, so yeah, it was a product of those guys pushing me every single day to be the best version of myself, and they’re going to keep doing it. And I’m going to try to keep being better.”

Bolton said fellow linebacker Anthony Hitchens has been a big help, almost an assistant coach to him as Hitchens deals with an injury.

“Help me play a little bit faster, maybe some communication before the snap and helping on motion and stuff like that,” Bolton said. “So it’s always been a blessing.”

That experience at middle linebacker has been huge, and Bolton said the ceiling is only getting higher for his young career.

“Every week’s a learning curve for me,” he said. “I’m trying to improve mentally every week, so I don’t think I’m where I want to be. I know we’re close to that, so I’m still improving.”

Bolton said the Tennessee Titans game — where he had four tackles for loss — was a confidence booster. Now he’ll be tasked with stopping two talented runners for the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.

But he’s up for the challenge.

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