NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is imploring Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to make the right decision regarding their young quarterback’s health coming into this weekend’s AFC championship game.
Mahomes was knocked from last Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Cleveland Browns after taking a hard hit and struggling to stand up under his own power, putting his status in question for the reigning Super Bowl champions in the postseason’s penultimate round.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mahomes was still in the NFL’s concussion protocol as of Tuesday despite clearing “some big steps” on Monday and is hardly a sure thing to play Sunday.
As a former league MVP himself, Favre feels confident Mahomes will want to power through and play in the conference championship against the Buffalo Bills regardless of his condition. He also understands the temptations for both the Chiefs and NFL to have one of their brightest stars on the field in the second-to-last week of the postseason.
And yet, Favre — while recognizing the irony of how he led his career — is imploring all sides to listen to team doctors and make the “smart” decision for Mahomes, whatever the evaluations determine that to be. Here’s what he told TMZ Sports in an exclusive interview this week:
“I played in 321 straight games, it kind of goes against everything I stood for when I played. But you’ve gotta be smart. You’ve gotta be smart. I was never faced with the decision that he potentially will face this week. And ultimately the decision may fall on the doctors. And if they choose that he doesn’t play, then it’s the right move because of the long-term damage.”
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Favre: ‘This is a Test for the NFL’
Favre seemed genuinely concerned about Mahomes and the decisions he could face in the coming week with an enormous weight on his shoulders, worrying his drive to get back on the field — like his own — could interfere with the best interests of his health. After all, seven days isn’t much time to clear concussion protocol or return to full health.
“This is a test for the NFL right now,” Favre said. “To see a star player in a crucial, crucial game, what will happen with their decision?”
While Favre is obviously no doctor, the retired Green Bay Packers quarterback can speak from experience of taking a play-through-pain attitude throughout his NFL career. Since retiring, he has been increasingly outspoken about the dangers of NFL players suffering brain injuries during their playing careers and developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) later in life.
According to the Washington Post, Favre also estimated back in 2018 he’d sustained “probably thousands” of concussions throughout his life of playing football, much of which came at the highest level.
“When you’re in the moment and you’re young, you’re bulletproof, man,” Favre said. “But I’m 51 years old and I’m wondering what tomorrow will bring because of concussions more than anything. … I urge him and all players to be extremely smart.”
‘Hope and Optimisim’ Mahomes Will Play
The next several days will be crucial for the Chiefs as they determine the status of their franchise quarterback, but Schefter also reported there is “hope and optimism” that Mahomes will be cleared to play for Sunday night’s AFC title game. The first step will come Wednesday when the Chiefs hold their first practice of the week.
If Mahomes is present and participating, it will be a step in the right direction for his status against the Bills. At the same time, the Chiefs deciding to limit him or hold him out completely on Wednesday doesn’t necessarily mean they are considering the worst. Andy Reid knows the capabilities of Mahomes better than just about anyone and could just as easily trust his superstar to get by on less practice.
Either way, don’t be surprised if there is additional work for backup quarterback Chad Henne after he was asked to finish off the Browns last weekend. The 35-year-old veteran went 6-for-8 passing with 66 yards and a 15-yard run on 3rd-and-long that helped the Chiefs ice the game, but he also threw an interception that put them in a bad spot in the fourth quarter. If Henne is needed to start against the Bills, it will be only his second career postseason game and first-ever start in the playoffs.