Saturday, May 15, 2021

NFL: Chiefs Patrick Mahomes cleared to play in AFC Championship game

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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was knocked out of the league’s concussion protocol on Saturday after his third straight day of training and will be under center when Kansas City faces the Buffalo Bills in the League Championship game. ‘AFC.

Mahomes was injured in the third quarter of the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over Cleveland. He returned to take the majority of the shots in a light workout on Wednesday, then did the same in the longest practice of the week on Thursday, before team medics and an independent neurologist gave him the green light after practice on Friday.

“It’s been a week of testing, a bunch of different things, to make sure I’m ready to go and there aren’t any lingering effects and things like that,” Mahomes said. “Everything went well. I went through it all; three or four different doctors said everything was fine.”

The reigning Super Bowl MVP was injured when he was tackled in the head by Browns linebacker Mack Wilson while leading a quarterback option. It never seemed like Mahomes hit his head on the grass – and if he did, it wasn’t the kind of impact that usually leads to a concussion – raising the possibility that he actually did. compressed a nerve.

Regardless, Mahomes immediately showed symptoms of a concussion. He stayed on the grass for a few minutes, then almost collapsed when he got up. He was still wobbly as coaches helped him get on the sidelines and enter the blue injury tent, although he appeared more stable when he ran into the locker room a few minutes later.

The Chiefs wasted little time shutting out Mahomes, however. Chad Henne finished the victory 22-17.

“We had an options game called we ran a bit earlier,” Mahomes recalled on Friday, “and I ran off to the right. I got hit. I tried to get up, I got up. felt my legs stick out and I knew it wasn’t a good thing. “

Still, Mahomes had enough wit about him to tell coaches to let him stay on the turf so Henne had a chance to warm up – “because I knew we were going to go fourth,” said Mahomes.

“You want to be out there, but you have to follow protocol and do everything the right way. You have to look at everything long term as much as short term,” said Mahomes, who signed a 10-year contract in the offseason that could earn him nearly half a billion dollars over the deal. “We are convinced that there will be no lingering effects and that I will be able to go out there and be myself and be who I am every week.”

Mahomes has finished second in the NFL with 4,740 passing yards this season, despite skipping the regular season finals with the Chiefs already assured of the No.1 seed and a pass to the first round. The long layoff between Week 16 and last Sunday wasn’t a problem either, as Mahomes threw for 255 yards with running touchdowns and passing before he was injured.

He has 15 touchdowns, including three on the ground, without an interception in five home playoffs.

“I mean, he steals as much as he can,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “I know this guy is a badass, and he’s going to go out there and try to prepare himself as he knows how, which means every rep is considered a rep of the game. And his attention to detail, his preparation throughout the week, that hasn’t changed. Just him playing according to the directions given to him knowing he’s in the concussion protocol. “

Mahomes also doesn’t seem embarrassed by a toe injury he sustained against Cleveland. He admitted it was painful on Monday, but it gradually improved throughout the week.

His injury status doesn’t just provide some clarity to the Chiefs, who otherwise would have started Henne with Matt Moore as a replacement. It also provides it for bettors and the gaming public. The Sunday night opening line varied widely among sportsbooks, with those convinced Mahomes would play by listing Kansas City as a 4-point favorite and those believing he might not. not play, giving the Bills a 2 1/2 point advantage.

The line was established on the Chiefs as 3-point favorites on Friday afternoon.

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