Patrick Mahomes II could have spent his offseason just about anywhere http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-malik-jefferson-jersey
, back home in Texas perhaps, or maybe even some exotic locale befitting a 20-something starting quarterback in the NFL.
Instead, Mahomes spent it in Kansas City.
Deeply immersed in Kansas City.
He showed up wearing his Chiefs jersey to read ”Oh the Places You Will Go” to a group of children at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. He hung out with fans at a Jason Aldean concert at the downtown Sprint Center.
He wore a cutoff jersey from the T-Bones, a local independent minor league baseball team, and a pair of jorts while attending the NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway. And he threw out the first pitch when the Royals played the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium.
Throw in the dozens of times fans have bumped into Mahomes at restaurants or on the street, usually documented on social media accounts, and it would be safe to call him a man about town.
”I mean, the fans come out every single week and show passion and love for us and our team and what we’re doing here,” Mahomes said, ”so for me, I want to be back in the community, giving back. And just be a part of it Sam Darnold Color Rush Jersey , to show the same love and passion to them.”
That earnestness is refreshing in the modern NFL, where large chasms have come to separate players from fans. Rarely do the biggest stars stick around town in the offseason, and even more rarely do players willingly embrace being part of the community.
Just this week, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown bemoaned the constant attention he receives, and the fact that he can’t even work out without people showing up and bothering him.
Mahomes would prefer people show up to work out with him.
The way he’s embraced living in Kansas City is not unlike the way Eric Hosmer and the rest of the Royals embraced the city during their back-to-back World Series runs. They would frequently pop up at local bars and buy a round for the entire place, even celebrating among the fans during playoff triumphs.
Maybe it’s something unique about Kansas City.
More likely, it’s something unique about those individuals.
The way Mahomes has engrossed himself in the city hasn’t been lost on the fanbase, either. He’s only started one game, a Week 17 win over Denver with nothing on the line, and has yet to really prove himself as a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. But he’s become one of the most popular players on the team, and his No. 15 jersey is one of the hottest sellers at local sporting goods stores.
Nor has it been lost on his teammates, who rave about the way the 22-year-old Mahomes has taken on the leadership role that Alex Smith once held Justus Annunen Blackhawks Jersey , even though he’s one of the youngest guys in the locker room.
”He’s always been confident. From the time I’ve known him, he’s been confident,” said safety Eric Berry, one of the Chiefs’ elder statesmen. ”He’s been sure of himself and he’s came out and made plays, so nothing’s really changed. Just now he’s with the ones (starters).”
Well, that’s a big change. The Chiefs have playoff aspirations this season, and whether they extend their streak of back-to-back AFC West titles will largely fall on Mahomes’ shoulders.
”He’s just going in there with confidence, talking with everybody, making the calls and staying on top of things,” running back Kareem Hunt said. ”He really wants to win and be a good quarterback.”
That’s the next crucial step for Mahomes: Showing he can win games.
It’s one thing for Mahomes to be a man among the people, popping up all over town and snapping photos and signing autographs until every fan is content.
It’s quite another to keep them happy by performing well on the field, where even the most popular players get lambasted after bad games.
Smith went 50-26 as the starter in Kansas City and many fans couldn’t wait for him to leave.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid doesn’t seem concerned about the pressure getting to the Chiefs’ first-round pick from last year’s draft. He points out that Mahomes had an entire year to learn the ropes http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-m.j.-stewart-jersey , and that he has not only absorbed the Chiefs’ vast playbook but broken down every nuance of it.
”He’s phenomenal,” Reid said. ”He’s got great leadership. He loves playing. He’s absorbing everything and now he’s just got to do it. He’s got to just go practice and work through it and massage each play and see how it works against these different coverages and he’s so willing. That’s the part you appreciate.”
Someone is going to gamble on Michael Porter Jr.
He insists it’ll pay off.
There is an element of danger involved with every NBA draft pick, in that nothing is guaranteed. There isn’t a player that epitomizes the risk versus reward thinking in this draft more than Porter Jr., who could get taken as high as No. 2 by Sacramento or go several picks lower because of uncertainty surrounding his health.
Back problems that necessitated surgery limited his lone college season to three games at Missouri, and a scheduled Friday workout was called off because of hip spasms. There’s still a chance he will do a workout before draft night and teams have gotten access to new medical information that would seem to suggest he’s ready for the NBA – but still, skepticism may be understandable.
”I’m feeling great,” Porter Jr. said.
Find out Thursday night which team believes him the most.
He’s 6-foot-10 and is usually categorized as a power forward, though in an NBA that’s now largely positionless Porter Jr. could wear a lot of hats. He’s already shown a complete skillset – passing, dribbling, shooting – that would translate to playing basically anywhere except center. He weighed 211 pounds last month at the Draft Combine, meaning there’s still plenty of room on his frame to add strength.
His college highlights are basically nonexistent: Porter Jr. scored 30 points in 53 minutes of action with the Tigers. Porter Jr.’s reputation is largely built on what he did as a high schooler when he was considered the best prospect in the country, and there was a workout earlier this month arranged by agent Mark Bartelstein earlier this month where he got rave reviews.
”He showed that he’s alive and well and moving Royce Freeman Color Rush Jersey ,” said Memphis general manager Chris Wallace, whose team has the No. 4 pick – and has been linked to Porter Jr. by many prognosticators. ”I would say (he) passed that first test.”
Alive, well and moving would seem to be the absolute basic prerequisites for a team to be satisfied about when preparing to use a lottery pick on someone, but Porter Jr. vows that whichever team grabs him won’t be disappointed.
”I just feel like in today’s game, there’s guys that can do anything on the floor,” Porter Jr. said. ”And that’s how I kind of view myself.”
Porter Jr. played two minutes in his college debut in November, then underwent back surgery – a microdiscectomy of the L3 and L4 spinal discs – about a week and a half later. He returned for an SEC Tournament game against Georgia, then put up 16 points and 10 rebounds in Missouri’s loss to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.
The injury went back to Porter Jr.’s sophomore year of high school, when he got hurt while getting hit on a dunk attempt.
”He’s a very versatile player,” former Georgia coach Mark Fox said. ”And I’m thankful that the kid’s gotten healthy because he was a terrific talent. … He’ll be a top-five selection. I remember watching him in high school, and he’s as complete of a player as there was at that level.”
That’s what Porter Jr. wants NBA teams to remember before making their selection.
He believes he’s the best player. But with every indication that Deandre Ayton will go No. 1 to Phoenix, the intrigue starts at No. 2 and Porter is surely getting a real long look from the franchises that have the other top-10 spots Brian Allen Color Rush Jersey , those being in order Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Orlando, Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia.
”It’s about getting in the right situation,” Porter Jr. said. ”I don’t need to go No. 1. I don’t feel like I have an ego that makes me want to go No. 1. I just want the right situation for me.”