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Chiefs great admits wanting to see Patrick Mahomes play during his rookie year: ‘I knew we had a great player’

Last month, Tamba Hali was chosen to be inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. The No. 20 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and former Penn State star made six Pro Bowls in his 12 NFL seasons, and recorded 89.5 sacks, which rank second in franchise history only behind the legendary Derrick Thomas. 

Hali had a press conference with reporters after his honor was announced, and he was asked about several different topics — including star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Hali’s final NFL season came in 2017, which was Mahomes’ rookie season. During his press conference, Hali was asked by a reporter if he could see “what was coming.”

“A little bit, a little bit,” Hali said with a smile. “I can’t say I saw all of these championships. But I knew we had a great player that came in the building. I could tell you that. I mean, at times we wanted him to play. You know, we wanted him to be on the field, but …” Hali then shrugged.

Mahomes was selected by the Chiefs with the No. 10 overall pick even though Kansas City was coming off a first-place finish in the AFC West with Alex Smith, who went 11-4 that year. However, the Chiefs knew a quarterback change was coming.

Mahomes sat on the bench during his rookie season while the Chiefs again won the AFC West with a 10-6 record, but Kansas City was knocked out of the playoffs early by the Tennessee Titans in the wild-card round. That following offseason, Smith was traded to the Washington Commanders while Mahomes stepped into the starting lineup and won MVP while the Chiefs made the AFC Championship game. As you probably know by now, Mahomes is on track to become arguably the best quarterback in NFL history with three Super Bowl victories in five years, and two MVPs in six seasons as starter.

No one knows how Kansas City would have fared if Mahomes was allowed to start immediately, and he surely benefitted from learning under Smith for a season. But his teammates clearly knew Mahomes had potential. 

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Author: Jordan Dajani
May 11, 2024 | 12:30 pm

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