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Kelce: 'Without a doubt' can win with Patrick Mahomes

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It's been an unusual Super Bowl week in the sense that our loudest headline has nothing to do with the Eagles or Patriots.

Washington's stunning trade for Alex Smith has triggered a series of aftershocks around the league. The Redskins have a new starter while waving farewell to signal-caller Kirk Cousins, who now becomes the biggest free-agent prize since Peyton Manning landed with the Broncos in 2012.

As for the Chiefs, Smith's departure paves the way for rocket-armed, second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes to take over the role in 2018.

As a close friend to Smith, Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce is still coming to grips with Tuesday's blockbuster swap.

"It's awkward. It's awkward. I honestly don't know how to really accept it. My entire career, you can't say Travis Kelce without Alex Smith. He's been my quarterback, he's been the guy. I owe a lot of my success to him," Kelce said Wednesday on The Rich Eisen Show.

"So it's going to be awkward going into a huddle, like I said, with anybody but Alex, but I know Pat is ready for the opportunity," Kelce said. "He's taken a lot of mental reps and a lot of notes from Alex on how this thing should be run. Alex ran it to an absolute T this past season and, obviously, everyone's excited to see what [Mahomes] can do."

Kelce learned about the Smith trade the same way most everyone not named Ian Rapoport did:

"Twitter. Twitter," Kelce said. "My girlfriend called me and told me what was going on with Alex and, sure enough, I went on Twitter and everything told me that he was being traded to Washington."

Kelce finds himself in an unusual position, but his confidence in Mahomes is sturdy. Asked if the Chiefs could win a championship with the newbie under center, the pass-catcher didn't flinch.

"Yeah, without a doubt. I feel like Patty Cakes can come in and roll the dice on anybody," Kelce told NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano and Brian Billick on Wednesday's Super Bowl Live. "He can throw the ball any way, he can throw it off his back foot and he can jump and throw, he can throw the ball anywhere, anyway you need for it to be thrown. His confidence is definitely one of the best attributes to his game."

Yes, but is Mahomes ready to seamlessly step in?

"That's where you kind of have to bite your tongue. He's still, like [Billick] was saying here, he's still arguably a rookie," Kelce said. "I'm not saying that I'm taking away from his ability by any means because if anyone can do it, it's Patrick Mahomes."

Mahomes was impressive during his lone rookie start, a 27-24 win over Denver in Week 17 that saw him pile up 284 yards off a string of impressive throws.

"When he played against the Broncos, I mean, he had a lot of footballs where he put it right on the money," Kelce told Eisen. "And in crucial times and in crucial moments. Like I said, it's going to be exciting to see where he can go with it. The expectation is definitely high."

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