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How Patrick Mahomes is making an imprint on the Chiefs — even when he’s not in KC

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How Patrick Mahomes is making an imprint on the Chiefs — even when he’s not in KC

As Kingsley Suamataia awoke one day last week, his dream of an NFL future recently made reality as the Chiefs’ second-round draft choice, he rolled over to find a text message on his phone.

 

It came from a new teammate, someone who began the message by introducing himself — but someone you might know.

Patrick Mahomes.

“Blows my mind,” Suamataia said.

A day after the Chiefs picked Suamataia, a left tackle from BYU, they added Jared Wiley, a tight end from TCU, in the fourth round. And some 20 minutes after that pick, Wiley estimated, he received a phone call. You already know what I’m going to say next.

Mahomes was on the other end.

The Chiefs put their collection of picks in front of the media over the past few days, and, in turn, we learned more about Mahomes’ participation throughout the draft.

But more about its aftermath, too.

There’s a theme in there.

Mahomes’ fingerprints seem to be everywhere on the Chiefs this time of year — even when he’s everywhere but Kansas City. Mahomes attended events in Las Vegas and New York before heading to Miami for the Formula 1 Grand Prix last weekend.

All the while, the pulse of the Kansas City Chiefs has kept his finger on the pulse of Kansas City.

The Chiefs just completed a three-day rookie minicamp, which is basically what it sounds like it is — a chance for some young players to get some run. Chris Oladokun, who spent last year on the team’s practice squad, served as the Chiefs’ lead quarterback during the practices.

It is not, in other words, a time for Mahomes.

You’d think.

Turns out, Mahomes has called Oladokun “every single day,” the practice squad quarterback said this week, to ask about specific players.

“He’s like, ‘Hey, how are the guys doing? What routes are they good at?” Oladokun said. “Even just in the cafeteria, (he’s saying), ‘How are they as dudes? Good dudes?’

“It’s actually good to be the first one to call Pat and be like, ‘Hey, man, Xavier Worthy is as fast as he (looks).”

We’re at a rare point in the NFL calendar that provides its veteran players a break from football.

If they want it.

While Mahomes’ trips offer him one, they provide separation in geographic terms only. That’s by his choice. Or his insistence. Maybe it’s a fear of missing out. Or maybe he sees an opportunity to jumpstart a process while others remain idle. There’s evidence of the latter.

Over the past couple of years, Mahomes has seen benefit, albeit immeasurable, in fostering connections between teammates. It’s part of his rationale for building the first phase of training camp in his offseason home in Dallas, rather than having the quarterbacks and receivers gathering in Kansas City.

Rugby-turned-football player Louis Rees-Zammit attended the Dallas sessions and came back basically describing Mahomes as a coach who is teaching him the ins and outs of the game.

The collection of anecdotes from Mahomes’ time away from Kansas City provide a clearer peek into his personality as a leader — perhaps as clear as anything we see during an actual game.

These are all small items, and there is some hesitancy to make a big deal out of a small thing, but that too is the point. He is trying to make a big deal out of the small things. There’s no skipped step, even when the schedule all but demands he skips some steps.

Another example: There is a bit too much made of Mahomes’ involvement in helping to select players in the draft. The Chiefs have a full staff devoted to this kind of thing, and they do it pretty well. Mahomes has another full-time job, and he does that one pretty well.

But he’s curious. So on an iPad, he pulls open the clips of college players and watches film. He’s the kind of quarterback to point out the characteristics he likes more frequently than those he does not.

Again, it’s not the driving force the Chiefs’ decisions.

But he’s still present throughout the weekend, even if not literally.

On the opening night of the draft, Mahomes was attending a gala in New York. But he informed general manager Brett Veach that he’d have his phone on. He wanted the updates.

After every pick, between firing off some social media posts offering his approval, Mahomes requested the phone number of his new teammate. He wanted to be the first to reach out. And, guess what, he already knew some information about the player. He’d studied the clips.

When Suamataia got the Mahomes text, he joked that it motivated him to leave an hour earlier for his morning workout. Or, heck, maybe he wasn’t joking.

“It was Patrick Mahomes, you know?” he said.

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