Patriots

Kuechly admits mauling Gronkowski in 2013: 'I might've got away with one there'

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Kuechly admits mauling Gronkowski in 2013: 'I might've got away with one there'

FOXBORO -- Lost in the chaos immediately following the Patriots-Panthers regular-season matchup in November of 2013 was the fact that it was one of the best games of the year. About four years later, that reality has been largely lost to history as well. All because of how it ended.

Late in Carolina's 24-20 victory, referee Clete Blakeman's crew picked up a flag issued for pass interference called on Luke Kuechly. The former Boston College linebacker was on Rob Gronkowski in the end zone, defending against a potential game-winning pass when he hugged the 6-foot-6 tight end before the football arrived. 

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No penalty. That was the officiating crew's decision. Tom Brady chased them off the field, irate. Bill Belichick said after the game that, "There was no explanation given to me. The officials ran off the field. I didn't see anything."

Judging by the replays, the Patriots had plenty to be unhappy about. Even now, Kuechly's willing to admit that. 

"I might have got away with one there," he said during a conference call on Wednesday. "I'm not even going to act like I didn't. I might have got away with one."

Though the Patriots have won two Super Bowls since then, Kuechly expects to hear from fans at Gillette Stadium about the non-call when the Panthers visit to play the Patriots in Week 4. 

"I'm sure somebody will say something to me," he said. "I've spent some time up there and I know what those fans are like. They love football and it'll be fun. We'll see what happens."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says that game has been all but cast aside as his team readies for Sunday. Too much turnover between then and now. Though many of the key figures -- Brady, Cam Newton, Kuechly, Gronkowski -- are still involved, there's been too much change since then.

"There's not enough carryover," Rivera said. "Some of the things we've done, obviously, we've transitioned to some different things. And I imagine preparing some of the things that we've seen, they're different as well."

The one lesson that carries over from 2013 to 2017 for Rivera? Don't give Brady the opportunity to attempt a comeback in the fourth quarter. It was a lesson the Texans learned first-hand last weekend.

"I just remember," Rivera said, "we left too much time on the clock for Tom Brady . . . He's an experienced guy. The biggest thing you really don't want to do is let him on the field too early."

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NFL Twitter explodes with reaction to Chiefs QB Patriots Mahomes' reported contract

NFL Twitter explodes with reaction to Chiefs QB Patriots Mahomes' reported contract

Patrick Mahomes has fully committed to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The superstar quarterback, who led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl LIV triumph last season, reportedly has agreed to a massive 10-year contract extension worth $450 million. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news.

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Mahomes is the best player in the NFL and, at only 24 years old, could lead the Chiefs on a dominant run of success over the next decade. In his two seasons as the Chiefs' starting quarterback, Mahomes has a 24-8 record, a 4-1 playoff record and a Lombardi Trophy. He also won Super Bowl LIV MVP and the 2018 NFL MVP.

Given his age, talent and potential, it's not surprising that NFL Twitter was pretty fired up about Mahomes and the Chiefs extending their partnership through 2031 (he has two more years remaining on his current contract).

Here's some of the best Twitter reaction to Mahomes' massive contract extension.

NFL rumors: Chiefs' Patriots Mahomes agrees to huge 10-year contract extension

NFL rumors: Chiefs' Patriots Mahomes agrees to huge 10-year contract extension

The Kansas City Chiefs are going to be a tough opponent for the New England Patriots and the rest of the AFC for many years to come.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes reportedly has agreed to a massive 10-year contract extension, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Mahomes has two more years left on his current deal with Kansas City, so this extension would keep him with the Chiefs for 12 more seasons.

The Chiefs won their first Lombardi Trophy in 50 years last season when Mahomes led a fourth quarter comeback against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP, adding to the NFL MVP he won during the 2018 campaign. The 24-year-old quarterback has thrown 76 touchdown passes with only 17 interceptions in the last two seasons (30 games played).

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Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league, and his résumé through three pro seasons -- the last two of which he's been the full-time starter in Kansas City -- is absolutely astounding.

What does this news mean for the Patriots?

Well, the Chiefs aren't going anywhere. Kansas City will continue to be a top contender in the AFC as long as Mahomes is healthy. He has a 25-8 record as a starter in the regular season, in addition to a 4-1 playoff record that includes a Super Bowl title.

The Chiefs also have been one of the league's highest-scoring offenses (32-plus points per game) in the league over the last two seasons, and no lead is safe when Mahomes has the ball. The Patriots found that out first hand during the 2018 AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. New England held a 14-0 halftime advantage, and it also led 24-21 and 31-28 late in the fourth quarter before losing both and having to play overtime. Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won the game in the OT period with an incredible touchdown drive on the first possession.

The AFC title win in 2018 was one of two victories for the Patriots in three matchups versus Mahomes. New England beat him twice in 2018 and lost in the 2019 regular season when the Chiefs earned a 23-16 Week 14 win at Gillette Stadium.

The Chiefs will play the Patriots again in the 2020 regular season in a Week 4 matchup at Arrowhead Stadium. You can bet the Patriots and Chiefs will play plenty more times throughout the length of Mahomes' reported extension, and it would be pretty fun if some of those games came in the playoffs.