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Patrick Mahomes: ‘I have a lot of trust in Rashee Rice’

Kansas City’s rookie wide receiver took off in the desert on Saturday.

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs appeared focused on seeing their rookie class play deep into the game during Saturday’s 38-10 preseason victory against the Arizona Cardinals.

For no player was that more obvious than wide receiver Rashee Rice — selected out of SMU in the second round of April’s draft.

Rice played into the third quarter on Saturday, catching passes from three different quarterbacks. He ended the night with eight catches for 96 yards. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid denies, however, that the heavy workload was intended.

“Not necessarily — his number just got dialed up,” Reid insisted after the game. “He’s a good football player and really has had a nice camp for us. Then he returns punts too, and he gives you a lot of flexibility.”

Speaking after Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes compared Rice’s skill set to former Chiefs wideout Sammy Watkins.

“He runs physical,” Mahomes observed. “I’d say he has a lot of what Sammy had when he first got here — being able to catch the ball, run physical, still have speed, and everything like that. He’s going to be a great player for us — and we’re going to keep trying to push him to be even better. Same with some of those other younger guys that we have.”

Rice appeared far from destined to be one of its heroes as the game started. On the second play of the night, Rice dropped a short pass from Mahomes — echoing the ineffective and sloppy performance from the first-team offense a week ago as the Chiefs lost 26-24 to the New Orleans Saints to open the preseason.

Mahomes is not concerned with the early drop.

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

“He has a good feel,” the face of the league declared. “We keep pushing him to be better and better, but you can see the talent. He makes a lot of tough catches. He had the drop early, and then he responded well. I think that’s just the jitters of being in your first few NFL games. I have a lot of trust in him.

“He can make those catches in tough spaces. It’s just another playmaker that we have in this offense.”

Despite the ringing endorsement from his quarterback after the early hiccup, Rice will likely hear about the missed opportunity this week from his head coach.

“It’s great to come back — just let’s try not to do it to start,” Reid advised. “If you do, you’ve got to come back. But let’s try to eliminate the first part of the equation.”

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