From community college to Super Bowl champion: Byron Pringle chases his second ring in his hometown

Then-sophomore wide receiver Byron Pringle runs the ball during the game between K-State and Oklahoma State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 5, 2016. (Archive photo by George Walker | Collegian Media Group)

Byron Pringle, former Kansas State wide receiver hailing from Tampa Bay, Florida, put together quite a career in his third season with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Over his last three seasons in the league, Pringle racked up 330 receiving yards and two touchdowns while also gaining 365 kick return yards, including a 102-yard kick return touchdown earlier this season.

It didn’t start there though. Early in his college career, Pringle found himself at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, before at-the-time K-State head coach Bill Snyder took a chance on the 6-foot-2 200-pound wide receiver.

That chance paid off, to say the least.

In a press conference from 2016, Snyder said he was glad he took the chance on Pringle.

“He continues to learn the system, and he is learning rather rapidly,” Snyder said. “As he does, you see the skill level enhance itself a great deal. He sticks out in my mind.”

Not only did Pringle get praise from the Hall of Fame head coach, but from other teammates as well.

In the same press conference from 2016, former K-State quarterback Alex Delton gave Pringle praise.

“He is just someone who will go get the ball,” Delton said. “He is definitely athletic. His speed and strength are both eye-catching, but his attack mentality is something that really sets him apart.”

Pringle showed off that attacking mentality in perhaps one of the best games of his career against Oklahoma State in 2017. As a junior, he racked up 166 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns and tacked on 114 kick return yards with one kick-off return touchdown as well.

Pringle left the Wildcats after his junior season and signed as a free agent to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. Although he didn’t see the field right away, Pringle worked his way up on the Chiefs’ roster and caught the eye of the number-one receiver on the Chiefs roster — Tyreek Hill.

“The one thing that impresses me about Pringle the most is that he comes into work every single day laughing and smiling,” Hill said during his Super Bowl media availability on Monday. “Greg Lewis puts him in for every single one of us during practice and he does all the snaps and doesn’t complain a whistle. For him to do that, then do special teams, then do scout team reps — that just blew me off the charts.”

Pringle raised eyebrows earlier this season when he lined up to return a kick-off against the Denver Broncos in week seven. Pringle caught the ball two yards deep in his own end zone and took it to the house in his first kick-off return touchdown in his career.

“I just took full advantage of me being back there,” Pringle said after the Chiefs 43-16 victory over Denver. “I knew I was going to hit it hard and once I saw the hole open up, I just ran through with power. I knew I had two dude’s backside that I had to make miss and when I made them miss, I just ran to the touchdown and I wasn’t looking back.”

Head coach Andy Reid gave praise to Pringle for his play in week seven.

“He just needs to keep being him and stay healthy doing it and roll,” Reid said. “We’ve seen it periodically in the pre-season with his return game, we saw it in college at Kansas State … and when given the opportunity, everyone has trust in him.”

Many K-State greats, including Jordy Nelson and Martin Gramatica, played in the Super Bowl. Pringle is now one of two Wildcats in K-State football history to play in two Super Bowls, the other being Ryan Lilja, a center for the Indianapolis Colts, who played from 2004-2013.

Now, Pringle is on the verge of K-State history. He has the opportunity to become the first player in K-State football history to win two Super Bowls over the course of their career.

Pringle heads back to his hometown of Tampa Bay to play in his second Super Bowl in back-to-back seasons with the Chiefs as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickoff for the big game is set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday.