Chiefs fans felt a collective shiver of fear during the divisional round on Sunday when NFL MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain against the Jaguars.
Mahomes couldn’t allay those worries even by staying on the field, albeit with a heavy limp. Though it was clear he didn’t want to leave the game, it became necessary for trainers to diagnose and treat him before he could return to play (which he did, in the second half).
What nearly spelled disaster for Kansas City turned into a surprising moment for backup Chad Henne: The veteran quarterback entered in the final minutes of the first half and led a touchdown drive for Kansas City before halftime, completing 5 of 7 passes for 23 yards and a touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce.
Mahomes said he would be “good” to play in the AFC championship game vs. the Bengals, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Wednesday told reporters his quarterback would go through normal practice routines.
MORE: Chiefs’ QB depth chart behind Patrick Mahomes
It appears for now Mahomes will be able to play in the AFC championship game, but it remains to be seen how the injury affects his mobility and ability to push the ball down field. If he is unable to play — or at full capacity — Kansas City may have some confidence in the backup who proved capable in limited snaps.
With that, The Sporting News looks at Henne’s career timeline, from college to his role as Mahomes’ backup:
Chad Henne age
Henne is 37 years, 6 months, 28 days old as of Sunday. That makes him the third-oldest player remaining in the NFL playoffs, following only 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (40 years, 1 month, 24 days) and Bengals long snapper Clark Harris (38 years, 6 months, 10 days).
Henne was the fifth-oldest player in the playoffs at the start of the postseason, though the departures of the Buccaneers’ Tom Brady (45 years old) and Cowboys’ Jason Peters (40) have moved him up two spots. If the Chiefs win on Sunday, he’ll be the second-oldest player remaining in the playoffs, behind Gould. If the Eagles win as well, he will be the oldest player in Super Bowl 57.
Chad Henne teams
Henne has played for three teams over his 15-year NFL career. The first was the Dolphins, who selected him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft with the 57th overall pick. He played four years in Miami, from 2008-11, before signing with the Jaguars ahead of the 2012 season.
Jacksonville was home to Henne for six seasons, from 2012-17. He spent the vast majority of the 2014 season as the backup to Blake Bortles and was buried further in the depth chart every season from 2015 through 2017 (in which he combined to play just three games).
Henne signed with the Chiefs in 2018, again in a backup role. He appeared in only one game that season, none in 2019 and three in 2020, including one start (a loss). He also was called to fill in for Mahomes in a divisional round victory the Browns after the former was concussed.
He completed 6 of 8 passes for 66 yards and an interception, but logged a 12-yard run on third down that prompted Kansas City to go for it on fourth-and-inches. He threw a completion to Tyreek Hill, allowing the Chiefs to run out the clock and win.
Henne got the second start of his Chiefs tenure in Week 7 of the 2021 season, a 27-3 loss to the Titans in which he threw for 82 yards on 11-of-16 passing. He did not play any significant snaps again until called into action vs. the Jaguars in the 2023 playoffs.
MORE: 7 backup QBs who are surprisingly still in the NFL, from Chad Henne to Chase Daniel
Chad Henne career earnings
Earnings listed reflect total pay per season, via Spotrac.
Chad Henne stats
For his career, Chad Henne has completed 1,200 of 2,015 passes (59.6 percent) for 13,290 yards and 60 touchdowns to 63 interceptions. Here is how that breaks down for each of his three NFL teams:
Henne’s playoff appearances are mostly nonexistent: He has only two appearances to his name (both in relief of Mahomes). However, he did what he needed to in those games to keep the Chiefs alive:
MORE: Chad Henne playoff history: How Chiefs backup helped KC beat Browns after Patrick Mahomes injury in 2021
Chad Henne college
Henne played collegiately at Michigan, where he was a four-year starter for the Wolverines from 2004-07. He led the maize and blue to a 36-14 record, though that was hampered by three straight losses in bowl games (including two Rose Bowl appearances vs. USC).
Henne ended his college career by giving College Football Hall of Fame coach Lloyd Carr one final victory over Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and Florida in the Capital One Bowl.
Henne completed 828 of 1,387 (59.7 percent) for 9,715 yards and 87 touchdowns to 37 interceptions at Michigan.