We recently sat down to chat with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to discuss BBQ, his first year and his high school sleeve.
One year ago, Patrick Mahomes was one of many quarterback prospects, forced to endure and endless array of visits, drills and offseason activities in the hopes of being drafted by an NFL team. He was poked and prodded, timed and measured, investigated and interviewed. In the end, the Kansas City Chiefs liked what they saw enough to trade up for the Texas Tech phenom.
Fast forward to the present and Mahomes can relax. The team that drafted him has now crowned him starter. Brett Veach’s surprisingly quick trade of Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins means that the second-year quarterback won’t have to deal with any questions or doubts about his place or playing time. He’s the starting quarterback and franchise face, like it or not.
We recently sat down with Mahomes for a quick conversation to talk more about the transition, his favorite places around Kansas City and why he still wears his sleeve from high school.
How well do you remember the emotions of last year at this time?
This time last year, you had to make sure you were ready and on point at all times. This year is so much more relaxed. I get to enjoy things more compared to beforem where you’re just trying to get drafted. You’re trying to get your draft stock up and it was all business. I wasn’t necessarily nervous, but I was just very focused. Like I said, it was all business.
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You’ve been working with Panini lately to mentor Pop Warner kids. A lot of Chiefs are very involved in the community. Is that something you’ve stated as well?
Definitely. I enjoy this kind of work. I remember when I was younger and would play with the guys that were on my dad’s teams. I still remember how much that meant to me and I want to do the same for others. I try to get out there once a month or so, especially in the Kansas City community. That’s big for me to give back and try to build a relationship with the community and especially the kids.
You mentioned your father, who as many know was a pro baseball player. Did you grow up with those ambitions as well?
I always wanted to be a baseball player when I was kid, but as I grew up and started really falling in love with football, I focused solely on that. It was after my junior season, I think, when I pretty much made football first.
Ever since those days, have you developed any pre-game rituals at all?
I don’t necessarily have any pre-game rituals, but I’ve worn the one sleeve in every single game I’ve ever started. That’s pretty much the only superstitious thing I do.
How far back does that go?
It goes all the way back to my junior year of high school when I first started for the varsity team. I was out there with a single sleeve in Denver when it was only 11 degrees.
Do you remember how you felt coming off the field after time expired in Week 17?
It was extremely satisfying knowing all of the hard work I’d put in all season was paying off. There was such a difference in how I felt from the beginning of the year, how much control I was in from the preseason. I knew it all was paying off. That felt great.
Obviously the Chiefs have been in the news a lot this offseason. When you hear about all of the coaching changes one way or another, how do you take that in?
There’s always turnover and changes on coaching staffs and in locker rooms. Coach Nagy is an awesome coach. I loved my time with him, because he helped me become a way better quarterback. As we move on, we still have a lot of great coaches in the building. Eric Bieniemy is the new offensive coordinator who will bring a lot of energy. Mike Kafka will also help along with Coach Reid, who is pretty much the legend.
Have you spoke with Eric since his promotion to offensive coordinator?
I’ve talked to him and he’s going to bring a lot of energy. He’s a guy who’s really passionate about the game. Our offense will adapt and progress to whatever we feel like we need to do each week. I think he’ll be great at it and that we will still have a high-powered offense.
What will you miss most about Coach Nagy?
I’ll miss the relationship I’ve built with him. Throughout the last year and even the draft process before that, we really built a good relationship. I’ll miss having those times I can talk to him about everything.
How’d you first hear about the Alex Smith trade?
I’d heard it through some phone calls and on social media, but nothing is official yet so I just try to stay to what I do.
What will you miss most about having him on the roster?
Alex is such a great leader, so I’m going to miss him being able to really help me, to give me great advice and show me how to be a great leader for the team.
At least on social media, everyone in Chiefs Kingdom is excited to have you on board, but how does it feel from your end as you’re out and about in K.C.?
They’ve treated me amazing. They’re really passionate about the Chiefs and they really love the players. They’ve taken me in and it’s my home away from home now.
Have you found a favorite barbecue joint?
I haven’t necessarily gotten one favorite, but the one I go to the most is Q39. I like all of them. They’re all good at differen things and I’ve enjoyed trying them all.
What about a non-barbecue restaurant?
There’s a place called The Oliver and a place called Gram and Dun. There’s a lot of place I like to go, but I also try to mix it up. I’m still trying to get to all of the places that are around to find my favorites.
Are you working out in K.C. this offseason? And are you working out with any teammates at all?
I’m sure I’ll get some workouts in with some teammates. I’ll be in Kansas City for the most part of the offseason. Right now I’m going back to Dallas to see my family and I’ll work out there to make sure I’m in the best shape possible physically and mentally for when the season comes around. I’ll be in Texas for a couple weeks and then I’m back to K.C.