Pat Mahomes — father of the Chiefs’ first-round pick, quarterback Patrick Mahomes II of Texas Tech — knows what it takes to be a professional athlete.
He spent 11 seasons in the major leagues, including parts of five seasons with the Twins.
“The thing I’ve always told (my son) is players make plays,” Mahomes said. “Now, there’s a lot of stuff he’s going to have to learn. He’s still relatively young as a quarterback, but I know how hungry and eager he is and I think he’ll pick it up pretty fast.”
Long before he was selected Thursday by the Chiefs, Mahomes II soaked up lessons about the culture of professional athletics from observing his father’s baseball career.
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“He gives me advice about how he transitioned into becoming a pro athlete and the work that you actually have to put into it,” Mahomes II said. “Not a lot of people see that when you’re growing up. You don’t get to see that people really have to work hard to become as good as they are. So, for me seeing that as a young age as I’ve grown up, has shown me that I have to work just as hard to get to that level.”
As a child, Mahomes II admired Alex Rodriguez, who was in his first season with the Rangers in 2001 when Mahomes Sr. was a reliever on Texas’ staff.
“I remember … how hard Alex worked,” Mahomes II said. “That really stuck with me. You see him hitting off the tee for hours, and you’re like, ‘Man, you are hitting home runs every single game. Why are you hitting on the tee for two or three hours?’ That is just stuff you see and you remember as a kid and it sticks with you.”
The elder Mahomes’ experience gives him insight into the journey ahead for his son, and he believes Kansas City presents a perfect landing spot.
“Kansas City is just far enough away from home that he can keep some of the people away,” Mahomes said. “It’s a good city, and I know how this fan base is here. It’s crazy. I remember playing against the Royals, and they would have games and stuff over here. It was like, ‘wow,’ so it’s a good fit for him.”
Mahomes was impressed with Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt after meeting him in February at Leigh Steinberg’s annual Super Bowl party.
Even more impressive for Mahomes was the phone call Mahomes II received from Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith after he was picked, especially considering he was drafted as Smith’s eventual successor as the franchise’s starting quarterback.
“It was awesome to hear from (Smith), and Patrick had already told me that he thought they had a good quarterback room with good guys,” Mahomes said. “Me, being a former professional athlete, I’ve had people I’ve had to teach that were probably going to take my job and did take my job. That’s just part of the game.”
Mahomes II can only hope he’s in that position one day, an aging quarterback asked to groom his replacement, but that’s a distant thought for the Mahomes family this week.
First, Mahomes II must turn promise into production on Sundays.
“I always told him he reminded me of (former Titans quarterback) Steve McNair,” Mahomes said when asked to whom he likes to compare Mahomes II. “If I was saying now, I’d say he’s kind of a cross between Big Ben (Roethlisberger) and he has a little Aaron Rodgers in him, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
Mahomes said his son’s big arm is reminiscent of two-time Super Bowl champion Steelers quarterback Roethlisberger and the comparison to Rodgers, a Super Bowl champion with Green Bay, stems from Mahomes II’s ability to extend plays with his feet, making off-balance throws outside the pocket and from different arm angles.
First, there’s plenty to learn from coach Andy Reid, who has a tremendous reputation for developing quarterbacks, and Smith.
“When you’re playing here, the windows are tighter,” Mahomes said. “It’s not going to be as loose as it was, and you’ve got to throw the ball on time. You’ve got to be able to have the safety valve you can go to, and Alex does that very well.”
Mahomes — who also pitched parts of two years for the Red Sox, two years for the Mets and one season for the Rangers, Cubs and Pirates — actually spent a month in the Royals’ minor-league system during the 2006 season.
Mahomes signed with the Royals on Aug. 4, 2006, and was assigned to Class AAA Omaha, where he was 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA in 35 1/3 innings across seven appearances.
He was released Sept. 7, 2006, wrapping up his penultimate stop with a big-league organization, having never pitched in the majors after 2003.
Mahomes made 12 appearances against the Royals, starting four games and finishing four games. He went 0-4 with an 8.49 ERA, striking out 11 with 17 walks and 39 hits allowed in 29 2/3 innings.
The highlight of Mahomes’ career against the Royals was a 10-out save Sept. 18, 1995, during a 10-4 Twins victory at Kauffman Stadium
He wriggled out of a jam after entering with runners on first and second, worked around a leadoff double by Tom Goodwin in the seventh, and faced the minimum during the final two innings with the help of two double plays.