The relationship between Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Steinberg Sports & Entertainment is the "story of how a small agency landed" a future NFL MVP who is now a "virtual lock to sign the biggest contract in league history after this season," according to Sam Mellinger of the K.C. STAR. Mahomes' father, Pat, estimated that "as many as 10 firms reached out" in the year before the '17 NFL Draft, from giants like CAA that "offered bigger infrastructure to smaller boutique firms that focused on personal attention." When Mahomes first met with Leigh Steinberg and SS&E COO Chris Cabott, they "described two plans." In the short-term, they would use the first year to "focus entirely on football, with no endorsements." Steinberg then presented his "retracing roots" strategy. First, a "scholarship is established" at both the athlete’s high school and university. Finally, a "charitable foundation is established." The presentation was "bold, even including a prediction" that Mahomes could be an HOFer. Steinberg and Cabott "earned trust, and not just with what they said but with what they didn’t say." Steinberg and Cabott "made it clear that the foundation would not be set up until Mahomes felt ready." They gave him a "list of a dozen or so priorities -- from short-term money to offensive system to geographic location to a second career -- and asked Mahomes to rank them." Mahomes became "convinced that Cabott and Steinberg would do whatever it took to give him the best opportunities and career possible" (K.C. STAR, 8/15).
READY TO RIDE: NBCSPORTS.com's Jerry Bonkowski reported "several images of Mahomes will grace" NASCAR driver Gray Gaulding's No. 08 Chevy at Friday's Xfinity Series race as "part of a promotion with Panini America's release" of the new '19 Donruss Football trading card set. After tomorrow's Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Panini America will "auction off the hood on Gaulding's car to raise money for Mahomes' '15 and the Mahomies Foundation'" (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/14). Gaulding said he is "very excited" to have Mahomes as part of his car's Panini paint scheme. Gaulding: "Obviously we know he's an amazing player but he's also an amazing person. The synergies are there, he's a race fan, I'm a football fan and now he's here at Bristol and he'll have his face on the hood on Friday night. I can't thank Panini enough for putting this deal together. They've been a great partner of mine for the last few months" (TWITTER.com, 8/15).