Kansas City Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes appeared on ESPN’s First Take Friday morning to talk with Stephen A Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Querim. Mahomes spoke to Smith, Kellerman and Querim via satellite from the Chiefs practice facility.
One of the items the trio wanted to know more about was his personal 2018 expectations for the Chiefs.
“We had the two back-to-back AFC West championships, the next step is the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said. “That is the only goal that we’re going for—to get to the Super Bowl and try to win it, and for us, every single day in these OTAs and offseason is come in, work out and that’s kind of been our mindset—we say every time we break it down: know what you’re working for, and for us, it’s to work to get to that Super Bowl, and we brought a lot of the pieces back—now it’s time to take that next step and get there.”
Mahomes will have that opportunity in his first year as the Chiefs starter, replacing Alex Smith, who was traded to the Washington Redskins this offseason. Mahomes told the cast the biggest challenge for him in filling Smith’s former role will be the leadership aspect.
“Alex was a great leader this last year and did a lot of great things on and off the field,” Mahomes said. “For me to sit behind him and get to learn how to be a quarterback and how to have success in the NFL was an amazing experience and now it’s time for me to step up and take that leadership role in the locker room and help us keep moving forward and keep progressing.”
Something Kellerman said he found fascinating was that Mahomes’ stock had gone way up over the past year despite him playing just a single game. A number of players, namely Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce, have “raved” about Mahomes during the course of the offseason.
Kellerman wanted to know more about that.
“I think over the last year the biggest thing I’ve done is just try to go in every single day and act like I was the starter,” Mahomes said. “Even though I was in the backup role, I was never taking a day off, I was never just coming in and being satisfied with where I was at, and I think just seeing me come in the locker room, in the film room, on the field at practice, and really just competing and doing whatever I can to kind of take my career and my ability to the next level. I feel [it] like has given them the trust in being able to say those things, and so now for me, it’s to go out there and prove everybody that has been saying those things right, and pretty much show them that I can have success in this league.”
General manager Brett Veach made that a little easier for Mahomes with his acquisition of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, which he acknowledged on the show.
“We have a ton of playmakers on our offense,” Mahomes said. “I just have to go out there and throw the ball around and get it to Kelce, Kareem Hunt, to Sammy Watkins, to Tyreek Hill. Throw the ball and give them a chance to make plays and hopefully, we’ll have a lot of success on the field this year.”
Mahomes, despite being just 22, sounded like a seasoned veteran throughout the interview, another good sign as the next phase of the offseason draws nearer.