Patrick Mahomes is quickly earning a reputation as one of the toughest quarterbacks in the NFL. That's not necessarily a good thing for the Kansas City Chiefs. From the sprained ankle in the season opener against Jacksonville, to the dislocated kneecap against Denver that caused him to miss a couple of games, to the bruised and battered hand that caused him all kinds of problems in New England, the second-year starter and reigning league MVP has managed to deal with all the pain that comes with playing the position. Not just deal with it but flourish in spite of it. But if the Chiefs are to win their final three regular-season games, and perhaps swipe away a first-round playoff bye from the Patriots, they need their star quarterback on the field. And that means the Chiefs need to figure out a way to prevent Mahomes from taking so much abuse beginning Sunday against the Broncos. “That comes with playing the quarterback position, I think, in this league,' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “As it goes, you're the face of the organization and the leader of the team. There are certain things that you have to do and step up. It's not just one thing — it's not that you just have to throw the ball 50 yards down the field, but that you lead the guys around you to be even better than what they are. He has an innate ability to do that. He keeps everybody involved on both sides of the ball.' In other words, good luck convincing Reid to take Mahomes out unless the quarterback is seriously hurt. Good luck convincing Mahomes to leave the game, too. “It doesn't feel great right now,' he said of his latest hand injury, “but it's something that you play with. In this sport, you're going to get hurt, you're going to bang something. So for me, it's about going out there and competing and relying on my teammates to help me out whenever I'm not feeling 100 percent.' That's been the case for about 99 percent of this season. Not much of the blame falls on the offensive line, though. Mahomes only has been sacked 13 times, a modest number even given the couple of games he missed with his knee injury. He also is among the least-hit quarterbacks in the league when you consider the fact that Kansas City often sends him back to pass 40 or more times a game, and that much of the Chiefs' offensive system is predicated on run-pass options that can put him in peril. The ankle injury, for example, occurred when an offensive lineman stepped on his foot. The knee injury came on the most innocuous of plays: a quarterback sneak. The hand injury against the Patriots came when Mahomes got hit awkwardly. “I was trying to throw that ball away and got hit, threw it away and got tackled right as I threw it away,' he said. “I knew something was wrong but I didn't know for sure. Then I tried to fire that next pass and it didn't look too pretty, so I kind of just let the trainers look at it. They gave me the good-to-go and so I went out there, battled, figured out ways to throw the ball across the middle and maybe not shoot those long shots that I usually throw but enough to get them back.' The numbers bear out the difference. Mahomes threw for 226 yards with a touchdown in the first half against New England, when the Chiefs raced to a big lead. They threw for just 57 yards in the second half, when they held on for a 23-16 victory. Yet just by finishing the game, Mahomes provided more evidence he is becoming one of the elite QBs. The Packers' Brett Favre may have set the standard as an NFL ironman, starting more than 300 consecutive games while playing through a broken thumb, a sprained ankle, a separated shoulder and torn biceps. And the three-time MVP did all of that while playing in one of the harshest environments in the league in frigid Green Bay. Other quarterbacks also belong in the pantheon of ironmen: Peyton Manning overcame neck surgery to continue his career, Tom Brady has only missed just over a season during the course of his career, and many people forget that before becoming a television analyst that Ron Jaworski once started 123 consecutive games from 1977-84. The Chiefs would love Mahomes to put together a similar starting string. Right now, he's at four and counting. Notes: DE Frank Clark will see a specialist this week for a stomach ailment that has been bothering him for the past couple of weeks. He managed to play against New England before it flared up again. “We found somebody he can go see and might be able to get a grasp on this thing and see exactly what it is,' Reid said. “That's where we're at, kind of waiting, trying to keep him as comfortable as possible.” ... RB Damien Williams practiced Wednesday after missing last week's game with a rib injury. ... CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder) remained out of practice. ____ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
It was hard not to do a double-take when Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing answered a question Wednesday about whether his full roster will be available for the team's next game by saying, “As of now, yes.” Ewing and the Hoyas are in a bit of an “as of now” world at the moment. Saturday's game against former Big East rival Syracuse will be Georgetown's first at home since legal matters for three players came to light after the school announced last week that one, leading reserve Josh LeBlanc, would be transferring. Also leaving, for unspecified reasons, was starting point guard James Akinjo, who was not connected to the cases involving LeBlanc and two players remaining on the team, Myron Gardner and Galen Alexander. “It was kind of like, ‘Wow.’ I kind of felt like I was in a movie,” senior guard Jagan Mosely said about the departures of Akinjo and LeBlanc, who were both among the team's top five scorers. “I come to college, and you expect to go to the Tournament every year. ... And then it's just like, it doesn't turn out that way. And then this happens.” Washington, D.C., Superior Court records show that LeBlanc, Gardner and Alexander agreed this week — without any admissions — to stay at least 50 feet away from a female Georgetown student, her two roommates and their home and to not contact them. According to court documents, the student accused the three players of “threats against (her) personal safety.” Separate temporary restraining orders filed by a different student against LeBlanc and Alexander were granted last month. Asked about possible school discipline for Alexander or Gardner, Ewing replied: “Because of legal issues, there are some certain things I can't even talk about.” “It's none of, really, my business,” starting guard Mac McClung said. “I wish the best for those guys.” McClung averaged 26 points in the first two games Georgetown (6-3) played without Akinjo and LeBlanc, road wins over previously unbeaten opponents Oklahoma State and SMU. Akinjo's starting spot has been filled by Terrell Allen, a senior who played one season at Drexel and two at Central Florida before getting to Georgetown. Allen went from averaging 2.3 points and 1.1 points in 14 minutes over the season's first seven games to 8.5 points and 7.5 assists in 31 minutes in the past two. “They did do some great things to help our program,” Ewing said of Akinjo and LeBlanc. “They will be missed. Guys are just stepping up.” ___ This story has been corrected to show that the name of player starting in James Akinjo's place is Terrell Allen, not Terrell Evans. ___ For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25
NCAA President Mark Emmert said Wednesday it is “highly probable” federal legislation will be passed that sets national guidelines for how college athletes can be compensated for the use of their names, images and likenesses. Emmert, who spoke a forum sponsored by the Sports Business Journal, said he is spending most of his time trying to figure out how the NCAA and its hundreds of member schools will allow college athletes to get that kind of compensation under the auspices of amateur athletics. He said he is also spending a lot of time in Washington, meeting with lawmakers, often with university presidents and other representatives from individual schools. Last week, Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Mitt Romney announced the formation of a bipartisan congressional working group that will examine compensating college athletes. “They want to hear from their home universities,” Emmert said. “Members of Congress care about college sports. They recognize how important it is to American society. They don’t want to do harm. They want to make it better. But it’s going to be a long road. It’s not going to be something that happens overnight.” The issue gained urgency after California passed a law in October that will give college athletes the right to make money of things like endorsement deals and promoting businesses or products on their social media accounts. That law does not go into effect until 2023. Since then, more than 20 other states have moved on similar legislation, with some states saying they would like new laws to be in place as soon as next year. That would make it almost impossible for the NCAA to operate with consistent rules for all its members. A federal law would eliminate that potential problem, but the NCAA wants a say in what that looks like. “If you had a completely unfettered sponsorship model like some state bills are anticipating, the nature of that can slide very quickly into an employee-employer relationship,” Emmert said. The NCAA has had a working group sorting through name, image and likeness compensation since summer. In November, the Board of Governors voted to allow college athletes to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses. Now that group is working on how to change NCAA rules. The board gave its sprawling membership a deadline to make legislative changes by 2021. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby is part of the NIL working group. “This hasn't, frankly, been the most enjoyable NCAA service that I have been involved with,” Bowlsby said. He said the timetable the NCAA has set is “doable.' Though ultimately what the NCAA is likely to be dictated by lawmakers. Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft said he knows compensating athletes is on its way to becoming a reality. He said he is 'not losing sleep'' over the issue. “I just want to know how am I going to protect my institution and protect (the athletes),” he said.