Justin Tucker and Patrick Mahomes see pregame squabble differently

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens kicker Justin Tucker dismissed his exchange with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce about 90 minutes before the AFC Championship Game kickoff.

However, Mahomes was not amused by the situation and on Tuesday accused Tucker of trying to “get under our skin.”

Kelce and Mahomes took exception to Tucker stretching close to where they were warming up on the Chiefs’ side of the field. At one point, Mahomes tossed aside Tucker’s kicking tee. Moments later, Kelce kicked away some of Tucker’s footballs off to the side and tossed the kicker’s helmet off the field.

Tucker has been doing the same routine for 12 years, where he kicks on both sides of the field during warmups. He said he never had a problem with other teams until Sunday.

Tucker found it “silly” that he was still being asked about the situation the next day when he cleared out his locker at the Ravens training facility.

“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,” Tucker said. “I happily got up and I moved my helmet out of the way – at least I thought it was enough out of the way. 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.”

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) exchanges words with Baltimore Ravens place kicker Justin Tucker (9) for warming up in the Chiefs’ facility prior to the AFC Championship football game at M&T Bank Stadium. By Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

Mahomes took the situation much more seriously and accused Tucker of gamesmanship.

“He does that to get under our skin.” Mahomes told the Kansas City media on Tuesday “I asked him to move his stuff and he got up and moved it I think two inches but didn’t move it out of the way. I was going to let it slide but Travis moved it for me and after that, I wasn’t going to let him put it back down.”

The situation never escalated beyond that interaction and the Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years with a 17-10 victory.

The Chiefs and Ravens play each other next season, and Mahomes did soften his stance when pressed about the issue.

“I have a lot of respect for him as a player and as a kicker,” Mahomes said. “He’s one of the best kickers of all time, probably the best kicker of all time. At the same time, you’ve got to have respect for each team. We all share the field and we try to do that in a respectful way.”

Tucker, who is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, does not have any bad feelings about the confrontation.

“Those are two of the best players that have ever played the game at their respective positions,” Tucker said about Mahomes and Kelce. “They’re just trying to get ready for the football game. Obviously, it’s an intense environment, so it’s really whatever to me, man. I was just trying to get ready for the football game.” 


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