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Before Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, three of the biggest stars on the field got into a brief conflict.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker moved his practice tee, football and helmet to warm up on the Chiefs’ side of the field — right where Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was doing his own warmup routine. Mahomes repeatedly moved Tucker’s tee and holder after the longtime Ravens kicker would set it up to practice kicks.
Star Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce eventually walked over and tossed Tucker’s helmet and practice football off to the side.
Whatever mind games may have been afoot appeared to work out in the Chiefs’ favor, as Mahomes and Kelce provided just enough offense to back up a stellar performance from Kansas City’s defense in a 17-10 Chiefs win.
After the Ravens’ season-ending loss Tucker said he thought the pregame interaction was not a big deal. According to Tucker, it’s commonplace for kickers across the NFL to practice on the opposite side of the field from their team’s designated warmup area.
“I saw Patrick there trying to warm up and get some dropbacks and he asked me, while I was on the ground stretching, if I could move my helmet. I happily got up and I moved my helmet out of the way — at least I thought it was enough out of the way,” Tucker said. “And then Travis comes over and he just kicks my stuff and he throws my helmet.
“I thought it was all just some gamesmanship, you know, all in good fun, but they seemed to be taking it a little bit more seriously. I’m totally willing to let it all go, but I just wanted to explain that that’s just what I have done for 12 years and it’s not like I’m out there trying to be problematic.”
Former NFL offensive lineman and current FOX Sports Radio host Rich Ohrnberger said that while Tucker was correct in saying kickers doing so is commonplace, it serves no purpose aside from gamesmanship and Mahomes and Kelce were justified in their actions.
Tucker is a highly respected veteran and considered one of the greatest kickers in NFL history. Of course, Mahomes and Kelce may be two of the most well-known figures in the entire league both on and off the field, especially since the duo has helped the Chiefs to four Super Bowl appearances (and, thus far, two wins) over the past five seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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