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Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes: Kliff Kingsbury can coach in NFL

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes spent Saturday during the bye week roaming the sidelines at AT&T Stadium and was even on tape hugging Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury prior to the Red Raiders’ season-ending loss to Baylor. By Sunday afternoon, the school announced Kingsbury had been fired.

Kingsbury, himself a former Texas Tech quarterback, served as a mentor and coach to Mahomes. Kingsbury helped mold Mahomes into the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. Kingsbury coached Mahomes, as a starting quarterback, longer than any coach Mahomes has had (he didn’t start until part way through his junior year of high school).

“I talked to Coach Kingsbury and he let me know the news, but at the same time I kind of saw it on Twitter,” Mahomes said Wednesday. “I’m close to Coach Kingsbury. He really helped my game and helped me as a person a lot. He’s a genuine good person and at the same time a very smart football coach. I know he’ll land back on his feet somewhere else. I’m excited for the future with him.”

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During his three years with the Red Raiders, Mahomes completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns to go with 845 rushing yards. Mahomes took over as the starter for the final four games of his freshman season and received honorable mention on the All-Big 12 team, and he started every game in 2015 and led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 393 yards of total offense per game.

In his final season, 2016, he led the FBS with 421 passing yards per game as he racked up 5,052 total, 41 TDs, 10 interceptions and a 65.7 completion percentage. He also set a NCAA record with 819 yards of total offense (734 passing) in an epic shootout against a Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma squad.

Kingsbury, selected by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2003 draft after a stellar career at Texas Tech, took out a full-page advertisement in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on Monday.

The ad read, in part: “It has been the honor of my life to be the Head Coach at Texas Tech and live in this community with the finest people in the world for the last six years. From the first day I stepped foot on campus as a freshman, I knew this place was home. In my heart, it always will be. This was never just a job to me. Texas Tech was a dream come true and I am sincerely humbled to have worked at a special place that I love so dearly.”

Kingsbury’s teams went 35-40 overall and 19-35 in the Big 12. Mahomes didn’t know of any plans in the works for Kingsbury to move to the NFL coaching ranks, but he’s certainly an advocate if Kingsbury goes that route.

“I haven’t talked to him at all about where he’s thinking about going or where he’s thinking about ending up,” Mahomes said. “But I know if he did come to the NFL, he has the work ethic and he has the mind and he has the innovativeness, I guess you would say — if that’s a word, to be in this league. Whatever he does, I know he’ll have success doing it.”

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Lynn Worthy

Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Chiefs and NFL for The Star.

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