Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes got ahead of any criticism that might be levied against defensive star Chris Jones, who suggested he could stage a contract holdout until Week 8. Mahomes spoke highly of Jones and said he understood the veteran just wanted to do his best for his family.
Jones tied his career-high with 15.5 sacks last year as he helped the Chiefs to their second Super Bowl in four years. The 29-year-old has been named to the Pro Bowl four times.
So, any extended absence would hurt head coach Andy Reid’s team on the field. Despite that, Mahomes handled a tricky situation with class as he gave a balanced response.
“I know that stuff – contract stuff – is hard to talk about because everybody wants to make money for their entire family and everything like that,” Mahomes said. “But I know how much Chris loves the Chiefs. He loves being a part of this organization. So I just try to stay out of it and tell Chris that I love him and that whenever he does come back, he’ll be welcomed with open arms.
“We know that he’s preparing himself so that whenever he does come back, he’ll be that dominant player that he always has been. I’m not looking down on him for anything like that. He has stuff that he’s trying to get done that he feels he needs to get done right now. So, I respect his decision. And whenever he gets back, like I said, we’ll welcome him with open arms. He’s a vital part of this organization and I’m glad he’s on my team.”
The MVP quarterback told reporters he’s kept in touch with Jones amid the defensive lineman’s feud with the organization. He only just signed a new contract of his own, so he understands the struggle of fighting for agreeable financial terms.
“He’s in good spirits,” Mahomes said. “It’s a hard time for all players, I think, whenever this stuff comes up — because you want to play, you want to be out there. But at the same time, you want to take care of your family. So it’s finding that right spot and where you think you need to be at that time.
“It doesn’t hurt his relationship with any of us. We respect his decision. But at the same time, whenever he comes back, we’ll welcome him with open arms and know that he’s going to be a pivotal teammate to help us try and make a run at the Super Bowl again.”