As Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes enters his third season as a starter, he already has an MVP award, a Super Bowl title and a reputation as one of the best in the game under his belt. The past, present and future all look bright.
Yet, it wasn’t always destined to be this way for Mahomes. After being selected No. 10 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, many considered him a work in progress. He spent a majority of his rookie campaign on the bench behind current Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith.
When Mahomes became the starter in 2018, he shattered expectations out of the gate and propelled himself into stardom. While the natural talent was always there, NBC Sports’ Peter King recently explained that Mahomes and many others attribute part of his success to Smith’s mentorship.
“He’s gonna say, 'Alex Smith has a huge hand in why I am where I am today,'” King said of Mahomes in an interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Jordan Giorgio which will air Sunday at 10 a.m. ET during Washington Football Kickoff Live.
A member of the faction that believes Smith’s presence forever helped Mahomes get to where he is today is the quarterback’s father, Patrick Mahomes Sr.
King recalled a conversation he had with the former MLB pitcher, Mahomes Sr., in which he went into a monologue filled with praise for the veteran, Smith.
“He went off for three minutes telling me that ‘my son can never repay Alex Smith for everything that he did for him,’” King said.
The anecdote about Smith and Mahomes’ relationship is not new, as their bond has been shared before. Still, it’s just another example of Smith’s incredible character.
Mahomes’ arrival in Kansas City was not an ideal situation for Smith. Despite his success on the field, it was clear that the new quarterback in the room was brought there to eventually assume the role as the starter. Rather than focus on only himself, Smith welcomed Mahomes and taught him every step of the way.
That mentality is something King believes will greatly benefit Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Though Smith still has hopes of taking the field once again after recovering from a gruesome leg injury in 2018, he’ll once again have a chance to mentor a young passer.
Given the attitude he’s displayed in the past and how he helped Mahomes come to dominate the league, there really is no better quarterback for Haskins to share the room with.
“That is a great mentor to be in a room with Dwayne Haskins,” King said. “Alex Smith will try to help him as best he can, to be a good quarterback.”
Smith may not be making a direct impact on the field in 2020, but his presence will surely be felt in everything Haskins does. The veteran is listed as the third quarterback on the depth chart, but King believes he’s a crucial part of the team in Washington.
“He’s a great person to have on this team, right now,” King said.