NFL quarterbacks typically don’t love their backup, especially backups drafted in the first round. After all, that’s your heir apparent. That’s the guy who’s going to take your job and, conceivably, your money – and sooner rather than later.
Alex Smith, however, isn’t wired that way. He had every reason to dislike Patrick Mahomes, the tenth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He had every reason to want to see Mahomes struggle.
But he didn’t. In fact, it was just the opposite.
“He helped me a ton,” Mahomes said on Tiki and Tierney. “I couldn’t ask for a better guy to be sitting behind. He’s a guy who gave me advice every single day at practice. He went out and did his thing, took care of his job as you could see on the field. But at the same time, if he saw me making a mistake or if he saw me doing something he could give his advice for, he would do it. It just speaks to the volumes of the leader he is and the person he is.”
Smith, of course, was traded to Washington on Tuesday, paving the way for Mahomes to start in Kansas City.
“I’ve talked to him through text and stuff like that (since the trade),” Mahomes said. “We have a great relationship. I know all this stuff’s been happening on social media and stuff like that, but for us, I think it’s just about working and being ready for the next year.”
Mahomes has big shoes to fill. The Chiefs have finished with double-digit wins in four of the last five seasons and won’t be content with merely making the playoffs; they want to win a playoff game – multiple playoff games, in fact – and reach the Super Bowl.
Can Mahomes, 22, handle that?
“I’m going to be extremely confident,” he said. “I’m going to go in and try to do what I can to help move the chains and win games. But at the same time, they’re going to have to see me put in the work. I feel like this last year I tried to do that. I tried to put in the work to make sure they know that I’m ready in case I was going in the game. You try to just keep building and keep building and show them you’re going to put in the work to be successful.”