Patrick Mahomes’ NFL career was this close to not happening

Patrick Mahomes’ already historic NFL career almost never came to be.

Mahomes’ dad, former Mets pitcher Pat Mahomes, tried to get the current Chiefs quarterback to give up the gridiron when his high school football career began modestly.

The 2018 NFL MVP, who also played baseball and basketball at Whitehouse High School in Texas, never saw the field as a quarterback his sophomore year, instead starting at safety.

On a visit to Texas that year, the Longhorns’ staff even placed Mahomes in the safeties room.

“I remember asking [Texas coach] Mack Brown, ‘You mean to tell me you’re recruiting him as a safety?’” Pat Mahomes said on The The Post’s “Amazin’ But True” Mets podcast on Tuesday. “And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ And I go, ‘Well, that lets me know right there that y’all don’t watch film, ‘cause my son hasn’t made a tackle in two years. And it ain’t by accident either ‘cause I told him he better not tackle anybody.”

Mahomes Sr. had a talk with his son while they were riding back home from Austin.

“I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, why are you messing around with this football stuff? You’re either gonna be a baseball player or you’re gonna be a basketball player. Football’s your worst sport. Why are we even spending time doing this?’

“He looked at me and said, ‘Dad, you know, I just want to play with my friends. I can’t see myself on Friday nights being up in the stands and watching them play and not being a part of it.’ So that was kinda it for that conversation.”

Patrick Mahomes
Pat Mahomes Sr. pitching for the Mets in 2000.
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Next season, Mahomes’ football career took off. He excelled as the starting quarterback, tossing 46 touchdowns as a junior and 50 as a senior. The success earned Mahomes, a three-star recruit, a scholarship to Texas Tech.

But even then, the elder Mahomes maintained his doubts.

“The stuff that he does now in the NFL, the no-look passes, the left-handed passes, he did all that stuff in high school,” Pat Mahomes said. “But in my mind, I didn’t know if that would translate to the next level. … It’s always been the same. Me envisioning him being a $500 million quarterback, going to two Super Bowls, no, I’d be lying. I always thought he would be a baseball player.”

Mahomes ended his baseball career after his sophomore year at Texas Tech, opting to focus on football. After leading the nation in passing yards (5,052) and 53 total touchdowns as a junior, he forwent his final year of college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.

At the time, pundits pegged Mahomes as a fringe first-round talent. Though Pat Mahomes knew his son would impress NFL teams in meetings and film sessions with his Eidetic memory, other questions remained.

When Mahomes told his dad of his intention to enter the draft, LaTroy Hawkins, Pat’s former teammate with the Minnesota Twins, happened to be in the room.

Patrick Mahomes NFL Chiefs
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
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“[LaTroy] goes, ‘Patrick, I only got one question for you. Are you ready to lead grown men? If Dez Bryant, if you’re on the Cowboys and Dez Bryant comes back to the huddle and he goes, hey man, I got a wife and kids to feed, you gotta give me the damn ball, what are you gonna say?’ [Patrick] goes, ‘I’ll tell him if he gets open, I’ll give him the ball.’”

Kansas City selected Mahomes with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft in what Pat calls a “perfect storm.” Since then, Mahomes has established himself as one of the sport’s premier players, leading the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship in 50 years in 2020.

Patrick Mahomes
Pat Mahomes watching his son during a Chiefs game in 2018.
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Last summer, Mahomes and the Chiefs agreed to a record-breaking 10-year contract extension worth $477 million along with $26 million in potential bonuses. Yet, before he signed, Mahomes required a little convincing from his dad.

“He said, ‘It’s 10 years, altogether it’ll be a little over $500 million, I don’t know if I should sign or not,’” Pat Mahomes said. “And I told him, ‘Boy, you better cut your finger and put an X over that before they change their mind.’ He was debating on whether he was gonna sign for 500 million dollars. I thought he was crazy.”

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