The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 1:00 am

NFL notebook

Return of Mahomes uncertain

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs built a defense and signed a backup quarterback that were good enough to preserve a win.

Now, are they good enough to win on their own?

The Chiefs, who lost Patrick Mahomes to a concussion in the third quarter of Sunday's divisional-round win over Cleveland, might have to find out with their hopes of back-to-back AFC titles and a Super Bowl repeat on the line.

Mahomes remained in the league's concussion protocol Monday, and coach Andy Reid declined to speculate on when he'll be cleared.

“Because of the protocol it's a no-brainer,” Reid said of the decision, which rests the hands of team doctors and outside experts.

If Mahomes is unable to play, 35-year-old journeyman Chad Henne would start against Buffalo in Sunday's AFC title game.

Henne took over when Mahomes sustained the concussion with the Chiefs leading 19-10, and he finished the drive by leading Kansas City to a field goal. But more memorable will be the two plays he made in the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs were trying to hold onto a 22-17 lead and run out the clock on the win.

On third-and-14 in his own territory, Henne scrambled to his left and found some open space, then sacrificed his body by diving for the first-down marker. Henne came up just short, and when Reid elected to go for it rather than punt, the coach put the game in his hands by calling a short pass play to Tyreek Hill that gave Kansas City a first down.

Extra points

The league will not allow in-person workouts for the scouting combine due to health and safety precautions because of COVID-19. The league informed teams that any workouts will take place on the individual pro days on college campuses. Interviews of prospects and psychological testing and assessments will be done virtually. ... Tampa Bay designated the 6-foot-4, 347-pound nose tackle Vita Vea (ankle) to return from the reserve/injured list, and the third-year pro is expected to resume practice ahead of Sunday's NFC championship game at Green Bay. ... San Francisco promoted linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator and run game coordinator Mike McDaniel to offensive coordinator. 

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