ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Most NFL players ramp up their schedule when training camp arrives, but for Patrick Mahomes the return to work on the field might represent a slowdown following a whirlwind offseason.
“I had more obligations of course but I got to enjoy it,” Mahomes said. “I think that was the biggest thing, I got to do a lot of things I dreamed about doing, aligning myself with a lot of great partners and traveling to places and to games that I have always watched on TV.”
Between accepting awards, shooting commercials, attending championship sporting events and everything else that comes with being the toast of the NFL, Mahomes learned an important lesson.
“You have to learn how to say no, and I think the biggest difference is that you have to learn that you can’t do everything, and you can’t do everything that everyone wants you to do,” Mahomes said. “You have to make sure you give the right amount of time for football and making yourself better and getting your body in the best shape possible, but whenever you can enjoy time away from football and doing these other things, you can enjoy it.”
Head coach Andy Reid sees his quarterback handling fame and responsibilities well. Mahomes grew up around professional athletes through his father, Pat Mahomes, an 11-year Major League Baseball veteran. Reid believes that experience prepared Mahomes for the rush of fame that comes with winning NFL MVP at age 23.
“I think when you're around him, you see that this is what he is,” Reid said. “He grew up around this, he grew up around star players, even though it was baseball, so he's not awed by any of it. He wants to be a great player in the National Football League, and he understands there's certain things I've got to take care.
Mahomes credits both his father and his godfather, LaTroy Hawkins, for helping him find the right balance between offseason obligations and preseason preparation.
“Using them for advice as role models for me so that I can go out there and do these things that are outside of football but at the same time keeping football as the main motivation.”
Despite the hectic offseason, Mahomes focused on building muscle and getting in better shape than he was last season.
“We did the body fat testing already today and I was down more than I was last year, about what I was at in the best shape possible last year so I’m excited for that,” Mahomes said. “I’m going to try to keep my weight down and at the same time have that muscle to be able to sustain a full season.”
With the offseason complete, Mahomes says, “it's obviously go-time.”
“It was really cool to absorb all that stuff and get to do it with a lot of teammates and friends and be a part of that,” Mahomes said. “I’m glad now to be in St. Joe playing football and focusing on football all the time, all day long.”
REID READY TO ROLL
Reid on Wednesday kicks off training camp No. 21 as a head coach and his seventh with Kansas City, but age 61 he appears as fired up as a fresh-faced rookie.
“I'm fired up,” Reid said. “We can go one-on-one right here. I'm excited. I love doing what I'm doing.”
Reid said he's cognizant during this camp that it's not just rookies new to St. Joseph. He's also breaking in a new defensive staff under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
“In my mind, we're all coming up for seventh camp and then I have to keep reminding myself that, hey, these guys, they don't even know how to get up to the practice field,” Reid said.
The coach concedes that perhaps age makes him nostalgic for going away for training, but he also appreciates the camaraderie, continuity and sense of purpose that comes with camp life.
You still feel that same urgency for production and building the team. But you have that comfort that you know what you're doing here, exactly how to get from point A to point B.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I wasn’t too exotic. I attacked a couple chile rellanos, but that’s about it.”
– Head coach Andy Reid on if he had any exotic plans during his offseason
Reid expects only two rookies on the sidelines for the first practice of training camp on Wednesday. Defensive end Tim Ward, who suffered a torn ACL last season at Old Dominion, remains on the non-football injury list. Linebacker Darius Harris, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, also remains on the sideline.
NFL Network reports that Travis Kelce reported to camp with other players returning from injuries. Kelce missed all of the team's offseason program recovering from ankle surgery, but doesn't expect to be limited during training camp.
The Chiefs quarterbacks, rookies and players returning from injuries take the field at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday for the first practice of training camp. The practice is not open to the public. The Chiefs will hold three morning practices for this group concluding on Friday.
Veterans report on Friday and the first practice open the public kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.