PHOENIX — Even during the practices no one sees, Patrick Mahomes will do Patrick Mahomes things. And the men who get to spend the most time with him, in the quarterbacks room, feel privileged to be eyewitnesses to greatness: when he’s on the field as their quarterback, and off the field as the greatest of teammates.
“There’s nothing that we haven’t seen on the practice field like you see in the games, like behind-the-backs, the through-the-legs, he tries it all,” backup quarterback Chad Henne said. “It’s more in the walk-throughs, but he’ll do it in practice. But he just plays with like a free persona about him that it’s just unreal. His accuracy in practice is the best I’ve ever seen. The ball’s always in the right spot. I think that’s what transfers in the game.”
Shane Buechele is the Chiefs’ No. 3 quarterback.
“[Mahomes is] a great practice player,” Buechele told The Post. “I think a lot of time people can be just gamers. But he takes that detail from the meeting room and brings it on to the practice field and gives guys juice. In Weeks 16, 17, going into the playoffs, people’s bodies are hurting, and when they get out on that practice field, it’s kinda hard to get going, but Pat does a really good job of kinda rallying the guys and bringing energy. He’s a vocal leader, but not in a bad way. He encourages guys to get after it a little bit, and it’s good to see, and people respond to it. Man, you have to. He’s the best in the league, and people respond for sure.”
Henne, drafted by the Dolphins in the second round out of Michigan in 2008 by then-Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Jeff Ireland, has grown especially fond of this quarterbacks room.
“There’s no filter in our room, and I think that’s what makes it great,” Henne said.
Henne serves an important role for Mahomes in the QBs room. “I kinda lighten the room a little bit, and make it light for him,” Henne said.
Mahomes will crack jokes, too. “Oh, he’s hilarious,” Buechele said.
He adds: “That’s why we get along so well, is that we’re different, we’re from different backgrounds. We always joke around that Chad’s from [Pennsylvania] and he has that kinda northern humor. And then Pat is from the South, so he kinda brings the Texas in. We all get along super well and our humor coincides as well together.”
Buechele is a second-year undrafted free agent from SMU via Arlington, Texas. Practice squad QB Chris Oladokun is a rookie from South Dakota State via Tampa. Buechele recalled one particular jaw-dropping Mahomes throw from a 2021 practice.
“We were working like a two-minute play, it was in the red zone, and he rolled out to the left and just kinda flicked it like 30 yards right in the corner of the end zone,” he said. “Obviously you see it on TV, but once you see it in person, it’s pretty special.”
The seeds of the Mahomes magic are sown in that quarterbacks room.
“When he’s doing his work, he’s got his headphones on, he’s listening to whatever podcast he is every morning, he’s in tune, like you don’t want to disrupt his work,” Henne said.
Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid have a dream chemistry and connection. “The way he does his notes, it’s the same thing,” Henne said. “He has a baseball background, so he’s had superstitions, and it’s the same exact work every day. We go through our game plan and if there’s one play out of sort for some reason, which is very few, but if there’s one extra play in a certain situation, Pat will go, ‘Hey, why is this in this situation?’ I know the game plan, but I don’t like study it like that. He knows like the numbers of each category are supposed to be in this thing. And it does change sometimes, but he’s so detailed in that aspect of the game that it’s just so impressive.”
Buechele marvels at it. “I think a lot of the stuff that we see on the outside is his physical throws, and all the off-platform stuff, but the detail that he puts into his preparation in that room, and just the film study … he’s constantly taking notes, over like protections and concepts,” Buechele said.
“I think he’s a really laid-back personality, but when it comes to football and when he needs to kinda dial it in, he definitely does that, and he locks in for sure. But man, he’s a great teammate, great leader, and that shows on the field.”
It showed on Sunday night when Mahomes took his backups and his offensive line to dinner at Steak 44 and picked up the tab.
“I’d say he’s just the ultimate people person,” Buechele said. “He’s not trying to please anybody, it’s his genuine self, he wants to do what’s best for other people. That’s what’s really cool about him is that he doesn’t put himself first. He’s always trying to get people together, to either watch a game or go to dinner. He’s always thinking of other people, and I think that’s really cool, especially in his position. Being the best player in the league and one of the best to ever do it, I think you can kinda put yourself on a pedestal and Pat does a really good job of kinda taking a step back and realizing the moment, being present and getting all of his guys in together.”
How much was the tab? “I don’t know that,” Buechele said, and smiled. “He keeps that pretty quiet.”
Asked what he ordered, Chiefs right guard Trey Smith told The Post: “New York strip. Medium, it was really good.”
Mahomes is no dummy — he knows he will need his bodyguards well-fed to face the Eagles’ pass rushers.
“He truly loves his O-line, he’s old school in that way,” right tackle Andrew Wylie told The Post. “He shows a lot of love for us, he takes care of us, man, and we all got a lot of love for Pat.”
No one was surprised when Mahomes dared his high-ankle sprain to prevent him from the third-down scramble that ended up beating the Bengals in the AFC Championship game.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, and that’s another word I’d describe him as,” Buechele said.”No matter what he’s doing, he’s gonna compete at it whether it’s football, basketball, pingpong, whatever it is, he wants to win. He’ll do anything to help us win.”
These days, that means high ankle treatment and therapy.
“Before meetings, after meetings, after practice — he doesn’t leave that training room, he’s trying to make sure that he’s as fully prepared when it comes to physicality with his ankle as he can be for that game,” Buechele said.
Superman on the field, super man off it.