Patrick Mahomes was a 6-foot-2 and 180-pound high school junior when the University of Texas showed some interest in him — as a defensive back.
Crazy, but stuff happens. Jim Kelly was recruited to play linebacker by Penn State.
“I had like six picks so, I mean, maybe I could’ve played defensive back, you never know,” Mahomes said Wednesday.
The truth is Texas Tech was the only major school that was serious about recruiting Mahomes as a quarterback. That was clear when coach Kliff Kingsbury came for a visit.
For Mahomes, It Was Always Texas Tech
“They were really the first and only because I didn’t really get recruited by much,” Mahomes said. “I mean, I got a couple other offers from some smaller schools and stuff like that in the Texas area. But, they were the one school and I credit Kingsbury, he’s the one that came down and saw me, talked to me, talked to my family and everything like that and believed in me.
“I think that’s a reason that I’m in this position, (because) he gave me that chance.”
Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Arizona Cardinals, now coached by Kingsbury, on Sunday.
And Mahomes, in his sixth NFL season and having won a Super Bowl and MVP award, is obviously not the same player he was at Texas Tech. But he believes what Kingsbury did for him at Texas Tech was invaluable.
Kingsbury Aided His Development As A Quarterback
“Yeah, I think the biggest thing, you see it a lot with these young quarterbacks, is whenever they get to a coach, they kind of just restrict them and kind of make them be this model of how the quarterback position is supposed to be played,” Mahomes said. “And I think he was early in the game of just saying, ‘Hey, let’s maximize your strengths.’ And he would teach me here and there about how to be more mechanical in the pocket and the fundamentals of the game.
“But he never restricted who I was. And I think that’s kind of obviously amplified with coach (Andy) Reid now. But it’s something to where I could’ve went somewhere and they could’ve tried to make me this pocket quarterback and who kind of had the right fundamentals, but he let me be who I was on and off the field and it helped me become the player that I am.”
Kyler Murray Talks NFL Recruiting
With DeAndre Hopkins suspended and Antoine Wesley on injured reserve, it makes sense Kyler Murray is going to be looking to throw the football a lot on Sunday – to A.J. Green, yes, but also to old friend Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
Murray played with Brown at Oklahoma and when the two talked every offseason it became obvious to the Arizona Cardinals quarterback that Brown wanted out of Baltimore.
So Murray began “recruiting” Brown and working the Cardinals personnel staff to convince them to acquire Brown.
That’s how it often happens in today’s NFL. Tom Brady recruits his guys, such as Rob Gronkowski. Derek Carr recruits his guy Davante Adams. On and on.
And Murray Had His Target In Brown
“I love the game. I’m very familiar with a lot of players, of course, the players I’ve played with,” Murray said Wednesday. “And coming into the league, obviously this isn’t college, you don’t get to recruit everybody, you don’t get to play with everyone you want to play with.
“But you have your ear to the streets, you know guys are maybe not happy with their situations, whatever it may be. And I’m sure everybody loves to do it. You saw Derek Carr goes and gets Davante.
“Guys obviously talk in the offseason, talk with their friends and guys they’ve played with. So whenever you get a chance to play with someone you’ve played with and you know what type of player they are, the kind of heart they have, how much they love the game, of course I’m going to try to do everything I can to bring guys here.”
Tua And Other Dolphins Players Unshackled
This is going to sound like former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores was hard to be around. And though that wasn’t always the case, the truth is he made it plain to players he was in charge. Flores stressed that it was their job to do what he and his assistants said.
It made some players feel a little tight and hesitant to speak their minds, including perhaps starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He decided the best way to proceed was generally to accept what he was told.
That’s changed under new coach Mike McDaniel.
“I think everyone feels like they can share what they feel, they can express what they like, what they don’t like, and they won’t feel judged or they won’t feel like they’re stepping on anyone’s toes,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday. “And I think that helps with accountability, too, with guys on the team.
“Mike has made this kind of a safe area or safe space, if you will, for all of the guys. You know, because if Jaylen (Waddle) is not doing something right, you know, I’m able to tell him. If Tyreek (Hill) is not doing something right I’m able to say what I think and same for them to me if I didn’t do something right — they’ll come and hold me accountable.
“So I think that’s where the being comfortable kind of falls into with the atmosphere Mike created.”
Matt Ryan Isn’t Done Proving Himself
Matt Ryan is 37 years old and has played 222 NFL games — all of them starts. And he believes when the Colts open their season against the Texans and he’s playing his first game for Indianapolis, he’s got something to prove.
“I think you always have something to prove,” Ryan said. “I think when you lose that, maybe it’s time to be done. For me, I’ve always felt that way. I certainly feel like I have a lot to prove, this team has a lot to prove and the games are our opportunities to do that.
“So, I feel like my motivation – I guess a different way of answering the question – is as strong as it’s ever been and I’m just excited to get started.”
Ryan is supposed to be the difference-maker for the Colts. They believed themselves capable of making the playoffs last year. And they believe they fell short of that goal, in part, because of their quarterback play.
And this year Ryan is supposed to fix that very issue.
Ryan’s Ready For The Task At Hand
So is that too much to ask of him?
“No, I understand the position I play comes with a lot of extracurricular,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of attention whether you want it or not, and I’ve always felt like you have to embrace it. In this league, there’s responsibility that comes with playing this position and an understanding of all that goes along with it.
“I feel like at this point in my career, I’m probably better served than ever to be able to handle all of the things that go along with it. But as far as pressure, I feel good. I feel really good.
“I feel like we’ve got a good team. There’s lots of guys on this team that can make plays. Our defense has done a great job during training camp. Special teams have been very good around here for a long time. We have an awesome running back, good offensive line, young wide receivers who are hungry that also feel like they want to prove something too. I feel like they can. I’m excited about this group.”
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero