January 23, 2021
NFL Rumors: After Clearing Concussion Protocol, Patrick Mahomes Could Still Face Another Hurdle

Patrick Mahomes said he has made it through the league-mandated concussion protocol, but the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback may not be out of the woods just yet as his team prepares for the AFC Championship game.

As Pro Football Talk noted, Mahomes told reporters on Friday that he had completed the league protocol after some scary moments in last week's divisional round win over the Cleveland Browns in which he was taken down hard and stumbled as he tried to get back up. Mahomes was taken to the locker room and missed the remainder of the game, but was able to meet all the milestones that the NFL mandates for players believed to have suffered a concussion, and he will be available when his team hosts the Buffalo Bills on Sunday evening.

But as the outlet noted, Mahomes is still dealing with an injured left big toe that had him limping off the field last week. With all the focus on his potential concussion and whether the league's independent neurologist would clear him to play, there's not as much known on the status of his toe, Pro Football Talk added.

Both Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid downplayed the condition of his toe, with the quarterback saying it has been steadily improving since he hurt it on Sunday.

"The next day was very sore, and every single day since then it's gotten a lot better," Mahomes said.

"It's stuff that you deal with being a football player. You deal with injuries. Luckily enough for me, this wasn't as bad as it looked, and it felt that day of and the day after."
It was not clear if the lingering effects could impact his mobility on Sunday. Mahomes and the Chiefs rushed for 245 yards in a Week 6 win over the Bills, but Buffalo was hampered by injuries and a schedule that had been shortened due to schedule rearrangements after the Tennessee Titans had a COVID-19 outbreak. As the SB Nation blog Arrowhead Pride noted, the Bills are much healthier going into the AFC Championship game.

Backup quarterback Chad Henne, who would have been in line to start had Mahomes been out, said he expects the Bills to be aggressive.

"They're very aggressive, they've got a veteran group in the back end, linebackers are very mobile and can run around and their defensive line's active, but I think they're just flying around and obviously with this game being the AFC championship, the ante just goes up and we're going to anticipate their best shot," he said, via Arrowhead Pride.