At first, Patrick Mahomes didn’t want to talk.
With Alex Smith being traded to the Washington Redskins, Mahomes is the new starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.
At this point, he is taking a low profile attitude toward his rise and expected coronation headed into just his second year in the NFL.
Mahomes, who starred in college at Texas Tech, just wants to keep doing what he has been doing.
Never miss a local story.
And that’s why APEC is in southwest Fort Worth and arguably why Mahomes is where he is in his budding career.
APEC, short for ACCELERATE Performance Enhancement Center, was started by trainer Bobby Stroupe in Tyler in 2005.
He began working with Mahomes when he was in the fourth grade.
After opening this center in Fort Worth in October of 2016, he helped Mahomes put on a show at the NFL Combine before being made the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Mahomes was one of three athletes who stood out at the combine last year after training with Stroupe in Fort Worth. Former Oklahoma receiver DeDe Westbrook ran a blistering 4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash before being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Former LSU linebacker Duke Riley, who started just one year in college, ran the fastest 40 of all linebackers at the combine to go from a late-round pick to a third-round pick and rookie starter for the Atlanta Falcons.
And when former Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson hits the runway at this week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis _ Stroupe already tweeted a video of Jefferson doing a 40-inch verticial jump and he should run under 4.6 in the 40, causing his draft stock to rise even higher _ APEC might no longer be Fort Worth’s hidden secret of the athletic training world.
For now, it’s just home for Mahomes.
“I’ve worked at APEC since I was in fourth grade in Tyler,” Mahomes said. “That is where I am from. This is where I grew up. I worked with Bobby when they were in a shed just started. It has grown as I have grown. It’s a hidden secret. I try to tell dudes around the league. I have been to other places. I fell in love with this place.”
Mahomes said he came back in the off-season where he is working with several NFL veterans as well as more than 25 NFL hopefuls, Travin Howard and Nick Orr of TCU, Jefferson, Poona Ford of Texas and Keke Coutee and Dyylan Cantrell of Texas Tech, because it's the best place for him to continuing working hard and get better.
“It helped me going into the combine and getting ready for my rookie season,” Mahomes said. “For me, it’s always about getting better. I know Bobby will push me. I know everybody here will push me.”
Stroupe knows no other way with Mahomes, not since he started with him in the fourth grade.
But it’s his way with everybody.
“There is no secret,” Stroupe said. “It’s hard work. Do a great job for people
"Don’t leave no stone unturned. What’s different about us is we will investigate every aspect of our profession, whether it be therapy, mobility, flexibility, speed. Never be satisfied with what we know. We accept every person as their own individual puzzle. We are going to go with what fits best.”
NFL Agent Brian Overstreet said APEC has gotten a reputation for specializing in linebackers and defensive backs and it's reflected in an abundance of players from those positions training here in 2018, especially after Riley's big showing last year at the combine.
“We have a heavy group of them,” Stroupe said. “We got some good skills coaches.
"It’s the way it fell this year. We had great success last year with a couple of guys and word got out. Riley last year came in as a sixth-round projection guy and got drafted in the third round. He was the fasted linebacker at the combine and the rookie opening day starter. You can’t ask for than that. We feel we are doing a good job for people."
Stroupe started APEC on a grass field 13 years ago in Tyler. He then moved into a garage-like facility before building a state of the art complex. Then he there before being recruited to the Game On facility in west Fort Worth.
“It was a great opportunity,” Stroupe said. “It’s a bigger city. We felt this area had a need. A lot of people still don’t know about us here. We work with kids from kindergarten all the way up to the professional level. And we get the most appropriate and sports specific training for that age. We don’t want to be a secret for the youth. We got into this for the kids. When I started 13 years ago it was mainly middle and high school kids. Two of the first 13 made the pros. It’s cool to see the progression of guys like that, along with Pat.”
It will be even cooler to see Mahomes progression as the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs next year.
Now is just not the time to talk about that.