BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- While the trade sending Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith to Washington has been agreed upon, it cannot be finalized until the start of the new league year on March 14.
So Patrick Mahomes was understandably careful when discussing his current situation with The Kansas City Star on Thursday.
"I know a ton's been said over social media and things like that," Mahomes said coolly, clad in a light-blue T-shirt. "But for me, all I can do right now is just work as hard as I can if any opportunity comes."
Oh, it's coming.
As the Chiefs' No. 2 quarterback this season, Mahomes worked hand-in-hand with the veteran Smith on the team's weekly game plans. He was able to see, first-hand, what it takes to effectively prepare as a starter.
"I just feel like I've been doing that all year long," Mahomes said. "I'm going to carry it over into the offseason, into training camp, and whatever opportunity happens."
While Mahomes had to speak in hypotheticals at the site of Sunday's Super Bowl, which he's attending in part to promote his partnership with Panini trading cards, those around him were able to talk more freely.
The 22-year-old gunslinger from Texas Tech is on the verge of becoming the Chiefs' starter at the most important position in football.
"When I found out about the trade I told Patrick, 'Make sure you call Alex and thank him for everything he's done for you,' " said LaTroy Hawkins, a former pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, and Mahomes' godfather. "That's the first thing I told him, and that's the only thing.
"For a guy to come in and get drafted that high and knowing you're going to get traded, and the way he treated Patrick ... I don't know Alex at all, but speaking for (Patrick's) mom and dad, I thank him for doing that, because he didn't have to. I know how (Patrick) spoke about Alex over the course of his rookie year, how he helped him so much."