Mahomes: Postgame hug a ‘mental lapse’
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes shared a brief postgame hug with New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore after the two teams met Monday night in Kansas City.
On Wednesday, the day it was revealed Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19, Mahomes addressed their encounter, calling it a “mental lapse.”
The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday that players for both teams wore contact tracers during the game — a 26-10 win for the Chiefs — and that no one in the Chiefs organization had been notified that they should isolate because of prolonged contact with someone who had tested positive.
“I think you just have to trust in the process and the protocols that are set in place,” Mahomes said. “Obviously, knowing that I went up to him after the game and just getting the high-five like I’ve done my whole career and not thinking about it.
“It was a little bit of a mental lapse, just trying to show sportsmanship and stuff like that, but I feel like the protocols in place are good.”
Kansas City fans, remembering the postgame moment, took to social media to express fears for the safety of their beloved young quarterback after hearing Gilmore tested positive, and Mahomes tried to calm their jittery nerves.
“I’ll try to keep away from that and try not to do it again,” said Mahomes, 25, who won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award in 2018 and followed it with a Super Bowl championship the following season.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed before the season to maintain social distancing and limit postgame interactions, but that agreement has not been enforced.
Mahomes said Rick Burkholder, the team’s vice president of sports medicine and performance, chatted with the players about the protocols.
“Rick reminded guys after the game, and he also reminded guys today in our meetings — the protocols and the different stuff we have to do in the building and during the games,” Mahomes said. “I think as long as we listen to those protocols, we can keep from hopefully having any outbreaks or anything like that. Keep it to an isolated incident and hopefully be able to go out there and play the sport that we love every single day.”
The Chiefs (4-0) are scheduled to host the Las Vegas Raiders (2-2) on Sunday. The Raiders put defensive tackle Maurice Hurst on the reserve/COVID list on Tuesday. Chiefs practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu also is on the list.
–Field Level Media