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Super news for defending champion Kansas City: Patrick Mahomes can play

Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City reacts after his

Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City reacts after his fourth touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 28, 2020, in Baltimore. Credit: Getty Images/Rob Carr

Yes, "Hennething" is possible, but the defending Super Bowl champions would prefer not to test that theory in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Chad Henne did about as well as could be expected after replacing an injured Patrick Mahomes in the second half of last weekend’s 22-17 win over the Browns in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. The 35-year-old former Dolphins quarterback even has a line of apparel with that unique moniker, which certainly described his impressive relief effort against the Browns.

But Mahomes, who practiced on a limited basis throughout the week, is ready to return after being cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol by an independent neurologist on Friday.

Mahomes showed daily improvement since getting tackled around the neck during the Browns game. He said he underwent "a bunch of testing, a bunch of different things to make sure that I’m good to go and there’s no lingering effects or anything like that. Everything’s been good. Everything has looked well, and I’m out of [the protocol] now."

Henne delivered when needed, running 13 yards on a third-down scramble and then completing a fourth-down pass to Tyreek Hill that allowed Kansas City to run out the clock and secure a third straight trip to the AFC Championship Game.

"It’s a little different when your quarterback goes down, someone so important to your offense and your team," All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce said. "But you have to throw it all into the same bucket of ‘when adversity hits, what are you going to do? Where does your mind go? Where do we go from here as a team?’ We rallied around Chad, gave him some confidence, knowing we were out there making plays every single snap, just like if Pat was out there."

It’s all well and good that Henne did his job. But if Kansas City is to become the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots to repeat as champs, Mahomes is the one who will have to get them there.

And now that he’s fit to play, he’s anxious to resume the mission.

"With going to the doctors and going through the testing, we had the belief that there would be no lingering effects," Mahomes said, "and that I would be able to go out there and be myself and be who I am every single week."

New York Sports