Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid says before the concussion protocol, Patrick Mahomes might have returned

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday he didn't know whether Patrick Mahomes would clear the NFL's concussion protocol in time to play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game. But Reid indicated Mahomes might have felt well enough to have returned to Sunday's divisional-round game against the Cleveland Browns.

After taking a hit and being knocked to the ground, Mahomes got up and momentarily staggered. He then headed for a brief exam in the sideline medical tent before bounding quickly down a set of steps and then running up the Arrowhead Stadium tunnel to the Chiefs' locker room.

"There was a chance back in the day that Patrick comes back in [the game],'' Reid said. "You saw him run up the tunnel. By the time he got to that point, he was feeling pretty good. But there's a certain protocol you have to follow and that takes it out of the trainer's hand and the player's hand and the doctor's hand.''

Mahomes was replaced in the third quarter by Chad Henne, who finished the Chiefs' 22-17 win over the Browns.

The Chiefs face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Arrowhead in the AFC title game. Reid said they would have a plan whether Mahomes or Henne starts at quarterback.

"Because of the protocol, it's a no-brainer from a coaching standpoint,'' Reid said. "You don't have to think about it. You just have to go forward and make sure you have an answer if he's there and an answer if he's not there. I can't tell you from a medical standpoint. I don't know that. That's their decision and I just follow it.''

Bills coach Sean McDermott acknowledged Monday that his team will have to "prepare for both quarterbacks."

"We've got work to do to prepare," McDermott said. "Certainly have a lot of respect for Patrick and how he plays the game and what he adds to their offense. But as you saw with the weapons that they have and the system that Andy runs -- I thought Henne came in and did a really good job and won the game for them there. So we've got a lot of work to do as a team, and also in this case on our defense, to get ready."