The Dailies: Holdout heaven in Kansas City
Welcome back to The Dailies, our look around Broncoland and the NFL. Despite its title, it does not, in fact, appear every day.
This is a one hundred per cent football blog, but Predominantly Orange would like to stand up and applaud the Colorado Rockies for their inspired play of late and their remarkable sweep of the New York Yankees. As much as we all love the Broncos and focus almost exclusively on their season pretty much from this point forward, it would be great for the Rockies and baseball fans in Colorado to see an honest-to-goodness pennant race this year. I’d love to be forced to make a viewing/TiVo decision between the preseason Broncos and the first-place Rockies come August.
Jake Plummer is back in the headlines, even though he didn’t do a thing. It seems the Buccaneers, who still own Plummer’s rights, have made it clear that Jake is still welcome in the crowded quarterback picture in Tampa. Further slants here (Post), here (Tampa), and here (ESPN). I still think Jake will play NFL football again. I don’t care how much of a hippie and an iconoclast he is, guys with the ability to still make several million dollars by carrying a clipboard generally don’t pass it up.
Greg Eslinger was named the starting center on the NFL Europe All-Star squad. Whether this means he’s improved to the point he can advance past the practice squad remains to be seen in training camp. I really like the kid, he was phenomenal in college and a late-round steal for the Broncos last year. In Eslinger, though, the Broncos may have pushed the boundaries of their constant O-Line conversion projects. Most teams didn’t want him because he’s small, and he is. I mean, look at him. The man in that photo does not look like an NFL center. He may surprise us, though, as his technique and drive are fantastic.
The owner of the Minnesota Vikings has purchased, for a cool $45 million, a chunk of downtown Minneapolis. If this leads to at least partial private financing for a new stadium for the team, I am seriously on board. I’ll never get political here, but I have completely soured on the boondoggle that is the current taxpayer-supported ballpark boom. Invesco Field is an incredible place to watch a game, and I wouldn’t trade it for any park in America, but Pat Bowlen could have footed a bit more of the bill for a venue that has made him hundreds of millions.
All this crap is mildly interesting, but the real News Of The Day is going down in Kansas City. The full text of Jason Whitlock’s interview with Larry Johnson is now available, and if you haven’t read it please travel there immediately (Part One, Part Two). It is, for me, a stunning reminder of the kind of individual LJ is. In addition to his considerable skill, he is easily one of the most immature public figures I’ve ever encountered. I’m sure this is not news to KC fans and residents who have been exposed to his total package for quite some time now.
I’ll definitely get into this topic more, especially if LJ and Carl Peterson’s contract impasse does result in a holdout, but I do have to make one point: The Kansas City Chiefs are a mighty paradox right now and that tends to help the Denver Broncos. KC is, by and large, home to some of the best fans with some of the best spectator outlooks in the NFL. They’re good Midwestern folk. The Hunts have run that team with integrity for four decades, save for some unsavory PR in the push for stadium upgrades. Guys like Joe Posnanski and Bill Grigsby are some of the best in the biz at covering a team.
That all exists right alongside guys like Larry Johnson, Carl Peterson, Herm Edwards and Jason Whitlock, guys that bring egos, bad attitudes, combativeness and downright deceitful manipulation to the table. They all think that they’re saving the team and without them it would crumble. They all carry massive chips on their shoulders and lash out at any perceived slight. And at the end of the day, they all hurt their team’s chance to win anything meaningful. These bad apples of the Kansas City Chiefs serve a similar function that George Steinbrenner does with the Yankees–their impatience and vindictiveness hurt the team. As a fan of both the Broncos and Boston Red Sox, I’ve come to appreciate the self-destructive tendencies of these rivals.