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For Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady is still a measuring stick

Updated February 1, 2021 - 4:55 pm

Even as the reigning Super Bowl champion quarterback, a former league Most Valuable Player and one of the favorites to win another MVP trophy this year, Patrick Mahomes still recalls his younger self watching and learning and yearning to be like Tom Brady.

That Mahomes isn’t afraid to admit that even though Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now stand in the way of the Kansas City Chiefs in their quest for their second straight Super Bowl championship says quite a bit about Brady.

But it says even more about Mahomes.

Less than a week away from trying to take down his former idol, Mahomes is honest about his respect for the future Hall of Famer and clear about the central role Brady played in inspiring Mahomes from high school all the way through the spectacular start to his NFL career

In fact, Mahomes has advice for anyone who has any inclination to be the best at what they do: If you want to find an example of what it takes to strive for and reach greatness, Brady is about as good as it gets.

“If you’re a young athlete and you play any sport, and you don’t look up to guys like Tom Brady, then you’re crazy,” Mahomes said on Monday during Super Bowl LV media day.

Mahomes doesn’t just advise people to watch Brady, he suggests they emulate him. It doesn’t matter that Mahomes already has surpassed Brady as the best quarterback in the NFL and that it will take a monumental effort on Sunday by Brady and the Buccaneers to topple Mahomes and the Chiefs, the young QB still believes there is much to be gained by observing Brady.

Which is why he still watches him with such a keen eye.

“The way he’s able to dissect defenses before the snap is something I truly admire, that I’m trying to get to that level,” Mahomes said. “The way he’s able to move within the pocket and be able to re-set his feet and be completely calm and still make the throw right on the money no matter who’s around him is something I’ll have to continue to work on. As I continue in my career, I’m still going to do everything I can to watch the tape on him because he’s doing it the right way.”

That isn’t confined to on the field, either.

With Brady playing at such a high level even as he closes in on his 44th birthday in six months, he isn’t just a role model as a quarterback but as an athlete for whom Father Time seems to have met his match.

Mahomes, who at 25 is 18 years younger than Brady, is already adhering to the Brady model by taking care of his body and eating right while working to keep his mental and physical state as optimal as possible.

Not just for today, but for the next two decades.

“I want to play as long as they’ll let me,” Mahomes said. “But in order to do that, I have to take care of my body as much as I take care of everything else on the field.”

For Mahomes and a bunch of other young athletes who want to maximize the length of their playing careers, Brady has shown the way.

And Mahomes has no problem being a copy cat, especially as it relates to doing right by his body.

“If you want to play this sport a long time, with how physical it is, you have to invest as much time into your body as you do anything else,” he said.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore onTwitter.

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