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AFC notebook: Sweetheart of a deal awaits sweetheart of a guy, Chiefs QB Mahomes

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was included on the list of top 10 most well-mannered people in 2019, as published by youth organization National League of Junior Cotillions. (Getty images)
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was included on the list of top 10 most well-mannered people in 2019, as published by youth organization National League of Junior Cotillions. (Getty images)

KANSAS CITY – Patrick Mahomes is exactly the type of young man almost every father would want his daughter to marry.

Not only because he will soon become the highest paid player in NFL history, and not just for the Super Bowl tickets he can purchase at face value if the Kansas City Chiefs get to Miami with a win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

But also because Mahomes is such a sweetheart.

Earlier this week, the Chiefs 24-year old quarterback was included on the list of top 10 most well mannered people in 2019 published by the National League of Junior Cotillions, an organization that “strives to build self confidence, discipline, character and etiquette in our youth.”

Mahomes was chosen “for being an esteemed leader and exemplifying outstanding sportsmanship on the field.”

Such personality traits were on his scouting report when the Chiefs made Mahomes the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

“You heard he was a great kid, and all about football,” head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday at Arrowhead Stadium. “So we look at that … I‘m not going to tell you we don’t look at that. You never know until you get him on your team. But he’s been what people told us he was, yeah.”

And so much more.

These days, Kansas City is full of kids running around with the same, umm, interesting haircut Mahomes wears. They want to be just like him. And why not?

Among the things to like about Mahomes is the fact that, in two seasons as their starter, the Chiefs have a 26-8 record, including playoffs.

Along with winning the MVP as a rookie and guiding the team to two straight conference championships, he has already reached statical milestones that have him in, or above, elite company. Such as, being is the fastest player in NFL history to more than 9,000 passing yards and more than 75 touchdown passes, doing so in just 30 games.

But, after signing a fully guaranteed, four-year $16.42 million contact that included a signing bonus of $10.08 in July of 2017, he is also seriously underpaid.

Mahomes is eligible for an extension once season ends and, according to multiple reports, the team is determined to lock him up.

Now, it’s a given Mahomes will become the highest paid player in the league, the new king of a mountain that, according to the Sporting News, is currently topped by

Russell Wilson (Average Annual Salary, $35 million), Ben Roethlisberger (AAS 34 million) and Jared Goff (AAS 33.5).

There’s talk Mahomes could get almost a quarter of a billion dollars on a six-year deal, while a story by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler last week quoted an NFL executive saying settling for a salary of $40 million “would be Mahomes selling himself short.”

So now we’ll see how nice a guy he really is.

The Chiefs will already by walking a tightrope with the NFL team salary cap that, at $188.2 million, is expected to again be on the rise. They also have a number of players who are on expiring deals, such as standout defensive lineman Chris Jones and DBs Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland and Morris Claiborne.

This Kansas City team is a very good one, and should be for years to come – unless it is crippled by a Mahomes megabucks deal.

As such a team guy, Mahomes wouldn’t want that to happen, right? But would his agents, Leigh Steinberg and Chris Cabott, allow him to settle for anything less than full market value?

Either way, Chiefs GM Brett Veach will need to be the MVP of the off-season.

Reid was asked Wednesday how he would describe Mahomes’ arm to someone who had never seen him play.

“He’s got an active arm,” said Reid, “but he’s got a good touch with it. He knows when to heat it up a little bit, then he knows when to put it down, cut down the velocity. He’s got a great feel, he can throw from all different arm levels, angles.”

When the Chiefs lost 35-32 to the Titans in Week 10 – Mahomes first game back from a knee injury – he jumped in the air to throw a pass over linemen to Mecole Hardman, who turned it into a 63-yard score. It was one of his 36 completions for 446 yards and three touchdowns.

As he was still a little uncertain with the knee, Mahomes didn’t run the ball at all that day. Against the Texans last week, he added seven carries for 53 very important yards to another prolific passing display.

“He moved around a little bit on us, he drifted,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said this week. “It’s hard enough to defend him when he throws it to one of those receivers, or one of those tight ends, or backs. But then it’s just an added element when he’s able to take those free yards, because everybody is back in coverage, and the rush wasn’t disciplined.

“It’s deflating. You know, because you look at him as a passer, an accurate passer, a creative passer, and then all of a sudden now he’s running for 20 yards. Now you’re running out of answers.”

Although he says he’s had no trouble sleeping this week, Mahomes admitted he’s excited about what lies ahead.

“You’re ready to play in this game, and this is what you want to do, play a home game, an AFC championship game, and get a chance to win in front of the fans,” he said Wednesday, before adding that, for him, it’s about sticking to the process of “day-by-day and getting the best out of every single day. Hopefully at the end of the year I can look back and be in the spot I want to be at.”

He was also asked where he got his good manners.

“I think it goes back to where I come from,” said Mahomes. “Being an east Texas small town, everybody was pretty nice to you and you kind of have to respect your elders, and do all that different type of stuff. I’m just who I am. I think that’s the biggest thing. I’ve always felt like if I’m nice to people and treat them like I want them to treat me, then usually good things happen.”

Really good things are about to happen for Mahomes, whether he wins the Super Bowl next month or not.

SUPER BOWL WIN “WOULD BE HUGE”

Emotional in Miami.

Has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Like Sleepless in Seattle?

Anyway, that’s going to be Dave Toub if the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl. He knows it already.

Toub has worked for Chiefs coach Andy Reid a good chunk of this century, first as his special teams/quality control guy in Philadelphia from 2001-2003 and then, after eight years with the Bears, reuniting with Reid in Kansas City as his special teams coordinator from 2013 to 2017, when the title of assistant head coach was added.

The two are clearly tight.

“I’ve thought about this a lot,” Toub said yesterday when asked what it would mean to him to see Reid win his first championship in 21 years of trying. “Nobody deserves it more than Andy. He’s such a great coach, to not have a Super Bowl under his belt … this would be huge.

“I don’t know if I’d stop crying with him. I’d probably hug him forever.”

Toub assumes the Chiefs will get to Miami as the AFC representative in the big game. He let that slip talking about Dan Sorenson – who is filling in as the starting free safety with rookie Juan Thornhill on IR while continuing to be special teams standout – and the fake punt attempted he stuffed by the Texans on Sunday.

“He had 108 plays that game,” Toub said of Sorenson. “He played every down on defence, and he played every down on special teams. He’s that important to us. Yeah, he’s a behind the scenes guy, but he is so, so important to our football team.

“And he will be in these next two games, too.”

After that, there’s a 50-50 chance Toub will be Emotional in Miami.

HENRY LEADS CHARGE FOR TITANS

Fans at Arrowhead are quite familiar with the sight of a running back having his number called most of the game.

In 2003, Larry Johnson of the Chiefs set a NFL, single-season record with 416 carries, or an average of 26 carries per game. With that, he totalled 1,789 yards and 17 touchdowns, all of which came the season after he had 336 carries for 1,750 yards and 20 TDs.

Mostly because of those two prolific years, Johnson sits third among the top ground gainers in K.C. history.

Now here comes Henry to lead the charge for the visiting Titans in Sunday’s AFC championship game.

By comparison, he had just 303 carries during the regular season (or an average of 20.2 over the 15 games he started) while leading the league with 1,540 yards and co-leading with 16 TDs.

Over his last three games, however, Henry has had 96 carries, including 64 in the past two playoff games. With the heavy workload over the three games, he has covered 588 yards, or an average of 196 per game.

He is the first running back since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to run for more than 180 yards in three straight games.

“I think I get in a rhythm, the more carries I get,” Henry said in Tennessee on Thursday, “and get a better feel for the game, as the games goes on.”

dbrennan@postmedia.com

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