Patrick Mahomes figured he’d hear from AFC West fans in California.
So the Chiefs quarterback poked fun when a fan at a celebrity golf tournament this week told him: “Watch out for Justin Herbert next year.”
“I’ll see it when I believe it,” Mahomes said, a grin spreading across his face as he strode across the Lake Tahoe course.
“Yeah, I think it got taken out of context,” Mahomes told USA TODAY Sports by phone Tuesday, speaking in conjunction with Bose. “I was talking some trash to all those Raiders and Broncos and Chargers fans out there. I have a ton of respect for him as a player.”
Herbert earned that respect across his across 15 starts last season as a rookie for the Los Angeles Chargers. He completed 66.6% of his passes, throwing for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Mahomes saw firsthand what the eventual Offensive Rookie of the Year could do when Herbert was thrust into the starting role Week 2 against the Chiefs. Kansas City trailed through the first three quarters before forcing overtime and ultimately prevailing 23-20.
“For him to come out in Year 1 and play at that level is a special thing,” Mahomes said. “Not a lot of guys can do it. And I know I’ll have a lot of tough games against him in the future. So it was kind of a joking matter that I think blew up on Twitter like most things to do.”
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Mahomes didn’t compete in the teams’ second AFC West match, a Week 17 game the Chargers won 29-18. Herbert completed 21 of 33 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns in addition to scoring a rushing touchdown as the Chiefs rested players before the postseason.
Next up in the division rivalry: The Chargers travel to Kansas City for a Week 3 matchup. The Chiefs will play at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium in December. Mahomes, who was promoting Bose QuietComfort Earbuds on Tuesday, will block out the noise both weeks. He awaits the challenge.
“I have a ton of respect for him,” Mahomes said of Herbert, “as a guy and a player.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.
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