A sign of respect is not necessarily a sign of friendship. But it’s also not always an indicator of hatred or disdain. In the case of Brandon Knight, the young Pistons point guard is a player who has a lot of respect for him as a player. And that respect is reciprocated. But he has also cultivated a friendship with the Pistons’ other young point guard, Brandon Jennings.

Despite the fact that he’s one of the best players in baseball, I don’t think anyone’s had a better year for “run production” than Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. His .325 batting average is tops in the American League, but that’s not the reason he’s been able to score at such an amazing pace. A-Rod has been the best player this season in the big leagues, but it’s not the stats that make him outstanding. During the regular season, the average player runs into 25 outs and swings at 17 balls. Rodriguez has been a bit more fortunate, running into 30 outs and swinging at 17 balls. Of all the players who have seen a minimum of 80 pitches, Rodriguez is third in the league in OPS

During his time in the NFL spotlight, Patrick Mahomes hasn’t made too many mistakes. In terms of on-field performance, the quarterback has been a revelation and lifted his Kansas City Chiefs into the NFL limelight. Away from the field, he’s been pretty perfect, too, building out his brand, making plenty of money, and avoiding any major missteps. During a recent golf tournament, though, Mahomes appeared to put his foot in his mouth by throwing some trash talk toward Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.

After his failed attempt at verbal warfare quickly spread across the internet, Mahomes had to circle back to clarify his intent. The Chiefs quarterback confirmed that he wasn’t trying to trash-talk his peer. On the contrary, he has plenty of respect for Herbert.

Patrick Mahomes appeared to throw some weak trash talk at Justin Herbert

As anyone who has watched him play football can confirm, Patrick Mahomes has an incredibly strong arm. In terms of trash talk, though, he recently threw somewhat of a lame duck.

During a recent celebrity golf tournament, the Chiefs quarterback was walking the course when someone told him to “watch out for Justin Herbert next year.” Mahomes tried to fire off a quick response but seemed to get tongue-tied and told the heckler, “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

As you might assume, the comment quickly made its way around the internet and became a hot topic among football fans. Some cracked jokes that Mahomes was so talented that he could alter metaphysics and see something when he decided to believe in it; others suggested that he should spend his offseason practicing his trash talk instead of his passing. A third group, which admittedly seemed to be in the minority, thought that he legitimately took a shot at Herbert.

For context, the Chargers quarterback had a strong rookie campaign after being unexpectedly thrust into the starting job. Herbert threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns across 15 starts in 2020, earning both comparisons to Mahomes and the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year crown.

Patrick Mahomes back-pedals on his potential trash talk, saying it was taken out of context

Patrick Mahomes (L) appeared to throw some trash talk at Justin Herbert (R). | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images and Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When Mahomes’ potential trash talk first hit social media, many assumed he wouldn’t be foolish enough — or so ignorant of what the quarterback did last season — to take a legitimate shot at Herbert. Unsurprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs star circled back to confirm that he didn’t mean any offense.

“Yeah, I think it got taken out of context,” Mahomes told USA TODAY Sports. “I was talking some trash to all those Raiders and Broncos and Chargers fans out there. I have a ton of respect for him as a player.”

The Chiefs signal-caller also cited Herbert’s impressive rookie season and the fact that he’ll have to face the sophomore for years to come as reasons why he wasn’t engaging in a legitimate war of words.

“For him to come out in Year 1 and play at that level is a special thing,” Mahomes continued. “Not a lot of guys can do it. And I know I’ll have a lot of tough games against him in the future. So it was kind of a joking matter that I think blew up on Twitter like most things to do.”

Justin Herbert will have a chance to make a statement early in the 2021 campaign

Even if Patrick Mahomes didn’t throw any legitimate trash talk in his direction, Justin Herbert will probably still have Week 3 of the 2021 NFL campaign circled on his calendar. That’s when his Chargers travel to Kansas City for a date with the Chiefs.

As oddsmakers and analysts have made their early estimates for this fall, the Chargers’ stock has been on the rise. Similar to their divisional rival, the club spent their spring retooling their offensive line to better protect a young quarterback. If Herbert can avoid a dreaded sophomore slump and head coach Brandon Staley can improve his team’s defense, the Bolts could be in the hunt for a Wild Card berth.

While a Week 3 game probably won’t be decisive in the overall playoff picture, Herbert would make quite the statement by leading his Chargers into Arrowhead and leaving with a win. Should that happen, he’d be perfectly entitled to throw some trash talk back at Patrick Mahomes.

Until then, though, we’ll just have to be content with (presumably) mutual respect.

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference

RELATED: The Chargers Are Putting Justin Herbert’s Super Bowl Dreams in the Hands of a Mad Genius Who Never Played College Football

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