Patrick Mahomes says Justin Herbert comment 'taken out of context': 'I have a ton of respect for him'

During a round of the American Celebrity Golf Championship, Patrick Mahomes had some fun with the fans in Lake Tahoe.

At one point, a patron told the Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller to "watch out for Justin Herbert next year."

Mahomes quipped back, smirking: "I'll see it when I believe it."

As with most things uttered from the half-a-billion-dollar quarterback's mouth, the clip went viral, with it appearing Mahomes took a shot at his AFC West rival and 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year winner.

(We'll set aside, for now, Mahomes accidentally (?) flipping the phrase. Perhaps he just subscribes to The Santa Clause ideology wherein, "Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing." Deep stuff, Patrick.)

During a phone interview Tuesday with Jori Epstein of USA TODAY Sports, Mahomes clarified his comments, noting that it wasn't meant to rib the Chargers quarterback but was just harmless smack talk with some fans.

"Yeah, I think it got taken out of context," Mahomes told Epstein. "I was talking some trash to all those Raiders and Broncos and Chargers fans out there. I have a ton of respect for him as a player."

Herbert enjoyed one of the best seasons ever for a rookie QB. In 15 starts, the Chargers QB tossed 31 TDs to 10 INTs and set the rookie passing record with 4,336 yards. Herbert's ability to stand in versus pressure and still drop dimes was otherworldly after he was forced into duty in Week 2 against Mahomes' Chiefs.

"For him to come out in Year 1 and play at that level is a special thing," Mahomes said. "Not a lot of guys can do it. And I know I'll have a lot of tough games against him in the future. So it was kind of a joking matter that I think blew up on Twitter like most things do."

Herbert's presence is the main reason some believe the Chargers could compete with the Chiefs in 2021 after K.C. won its fifth-straight AFC West division title last season.

"I have a ton of respect for him," Mahomes said of Herbert, "as a guy and a player."

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