Free agency, salary caps and a convoluted sense of self worth have all altered the landscape of pro sports, specifically as it relates to how each organization runs its particular year-to-year—and even day-to-day—operations.
Financial constraints and bloated egos add to the continuous shuffling of players, as both the team and individual are forced into doing what is best for their long-term successes and futures.
While the NFL is doing its part to control the outlandish spending that has hamstrung the league for years—by implementing rookie pay scales and a salary floor—small market teams are still affected by players bolting for the bright lights of the big city, even if contract offers are comparable.
Whether it is the desire of a new challenge, a better shot at winning or if players and/or organizations think a change of scenery is necessary, players typically do not spend their entire careers in the same uniform anymore.
However, there are certain players that come around who should be retained at all costs. Even as careers wind down or value hits its peak, their presence on the team and in the community should trump all. And when the player reciprocates those sentiments, you get a flashback of the good old days in sports.
The Kansas City Chiefs have both benefited and fallen victim to each side of this issue.
The franchise has had its share of players who were considered cornerstones and called Arrowhead Stadium home their entire careers (Derrick Thomas, Otis Taylor and Will Shields). The Chiefs have also had players who left Kansas City for various reasons who would have been great examples of players having spent their careers playing for only one team (Tony Gonzalez and Jared Allen).
While it is much easier to determine how good a player actually was after his career is over, his value to his team and city is measured continually—both on and off the field.
The Chiefs currently have a handful of players that could go down as all-time greats in Kansas City. Calling Arrowhead Stadium for their entire careers will ensure that happens.
Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Brandon Flowers are all extraordinary players on the field and represent Kansas City well off of it.
Though the grass is oftentimes greener on the side, there is no guarantee of that once the decision to move on has been made.
While the organization obviously benefits from having these players around, the fact that things are looking up for the franchise will help in keeping them in Chiefs red for a very long time.
Let’s hope that means Charles, Berry, Hali, Johnson and Flowers remain Kansas City Chiefs for life.