Oct 5, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes before a NFL game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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

Feb 1, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; New England Patriots Stephon Gilmore poses for a photo after receiving the AP Defensive Player of the Year presented by Old Spice during the NFL Honors awards presentation at Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Patriots give CB Gilmore a $5M raise

The New England Patriots are reportedly giving star cornerback Stephon Gilmore a $5 million raise for this season.

Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, will see his salary jump from $10.5 million to $15.5 million with a chance to earn up to $17.5 million with incentives, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro, Gilmore shared the NFL lead with six interceptions in 2019.

The 2012 first-round pick has 374 tackles, 111 passes defensed and 24 interceptions in 113 games (111 starts) with the Buffalo Bills (2012-16) and Patriots.

Gilmore, who turns 30 on Sept. 19, is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $65 million deal he signed in March 2017 when he joined the Patriots as a free agent. That contract included an $18 million signing bonus and $40 million in guarantees.

The market for elite cornerbacks has exploded since that deal, however. Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey agreed to a reported five-year, $105 million extension on Wednesday.

The Patriots open the season at home Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

–Field Level Media