KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- They're the hottest tickets in town, but on Tuesday, the Chiefs pause to give back.
The unbeaten (3-0) Chiefs have the hottest quarterback in the league as well, in second-year star Patrick Mahomes, who took a moment on Tuesday, his day off from practice, to greet patients at the University of Kansas Health System in the Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapeutics Unit. Many of those men and women are awaiting bone marrow transplants that could save their lives.
"Hey there, I'm Patrick. It's nice to meet you," Mahomes said, while shaking the hand of a transplant patient in a hospital bed.
Mahomes mentioned this is his first hospital visit as a professional football player, but he made many similar visits in the Lubbock, Texas area, where he become a college pigskin star at Texas Tech.
"It was cool to be able to come here and lift their spirits a little bit," Mahomes said.
Mahomes, along with Chiefs backup quarterbacks Chad Henne and Chase Litton, spent about an hour chatting with people who are waiting for crucial procedures and transplants. Some of them have been waiting for months for donors to arrive with the resources that could prolong their lives.
"You see the fight and determination that these people have. That's stuff you can look up to and it inspires you. You know these people are laying it on the line every single day," Mahomes, 23, said.
Mahomes has been the talk of the National Football League. Through three weeks, he's revolutionizing the Kansas City offense, averaging nearly 40 points per game. In the process, Mahomes set a passing record for most touchdowns (13) thrown by a quarterback in the first three weeks of a season.
Kansas City's admiration for Mahomes and the Chiefs was in full bloom during Tuesday's hospital visit, as Chiefs fans cheered their visitors from their hospital beds. David Riehn, a Chiefs fan from Lawrence, Kansas, said he's hoping for a bone marrow transplant that will relieve him from the pain of leukemia, and meeting Mahomes gave him a quick reprieve from the agony he's feeling.
"I was pretty surprised that anybody was coming. It's just exciting and fun to meet those guys," Riehn said.
"It puts everything in perspective. When you go in every single day, maybe you're not feeling your best that you can still go out and play to the best of your ability," Mahomes said.
As Mahomes and his teammates left the hospital, hundreds of patients, employees and visitors gathered to cheer them on as heroes as they left for the parking lot. One University of Kansas Health System employee commented that it might be the loudest and largest crowd they've ever seen do that.
The Chiefs will put their unbeaten record on the line on Monday night, as they travel to Denver to face their AFC West Division rival Broncos.