Kansas City Chiefs: Recapping the Latest Buzz Heading into Training Camp
Living most of your life anchored within hours of the Kansas City Chiefs' stomping ground, two things become apparent: Local buzz always builds in the weeks leading up to training camp, and I-435 makes you want to high-five a windshield with your face.
("Let's play 21 questions." "I wonder what the weather's gonna be like." "I spy something gree..." EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING AROUND US IS GREEN! WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO COLDPLAY?)
The truth? Kansas City hasn't stepped foot onto a field in three weeks. The same holds true for every other NFL team—some haven't suited up since June 12, which is why your timeline reads like the diary of a LeBron-loving Stan (NSFW). (Sources say everyone who tweets "sources say..." deserves to have their septic tank clog.)
That being the case, if you're scavenging for on-field progress reports, exhale and Google a hobby. The Chiefs don't kick off training camp until July 24.
Conversely, the team has been ringing with off-field buzz, from cameos to rumors, over the past handful of weeks.
Rokevious Watkins Suspended for First 4 Games of 2014
In Alex Smith's first year with the Chiefs—new players, new coach, new system—he earned his first Pro Bowl nod and, on the heels of the heart-stomping Wild Card loss, posted the NFL's highest postseason passer rating (119.7).
With a year under his belt, he could pick up where he left off and further distance himself from the "game manager" stigma.
Or his offensive line could crumble like the Berlin Wall, ending with Patrick Willis standing over him in Week 5, looking up to a press-box-sitting Roger Goodell who gives a Gladiator-like thumbs-down.
Either way, the Chiefs front five will be down another man throughout the first four weeks, as NFL.com's Ian Rapoport relayed that 25-year-old Rokevious Watkins will be suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy. (I still haven't seen a "Ruh-Ro'" headline. Get it together, editors.)
#Chiefs OL Rokevious Watkins is suspended for the 1st 4 games of 2014 for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 3, 2014
In 80 preseason snaps at right guard last year, Watkins, excelling in pass protection, earned a positive grade (1.2) from Pro Football Focus (subscription required). On the other hand, in 88 regular-season snaps at left guard, the score dipped into the negatives (minus-2.2).
Justin Houston Hulks Up During Holdout
Let's give this some perspective; per the University of Illinois, the average pig weighs 192 kilograms, and per my brain (Google), that rounds out to 423 pounds. The average gorilla tips the scale at 456. Houston, a 258-pound linebacker, doesn't just bench 440 pounds, he benches 440 pounds twice.
Now, from a conditioning standpoint, will he be in "football shape" by the end of his holdout (whenever that proves to be)? I don't know. Anyone's guess.
I do know, however, he can strut onto a farm or rainforest and suplex the manhood out of anything walking. So there's that.
Aaron Murray Makes Reality TV Debut on ABC's 'The Bachelorette'
OK, first off, let me renew my man card by saying that I've never watched The Bachelorette. (Flavor of Love? Different story.)
But if Aaron Murray's brother, Josh—who's a candidate...or contestant...or Broski No. 3. Whatever they're called—tops this season's competition, odds are that Arrowhead is about to get a lot more attractive. (No offense, barbecue-stained-Vanover-jersey guy.)
The Murrays, who, judging their "shake face" showdown, are a tight-knit family, seemingly have their sights set on attending Aaron's NFL games. And Ms. Bachelorette, Andi Dorfman, is definitely easy on the eyes, despite her name sounding like that of seventh-grader who collects frogs.
Couple that with the fact that Aaron's better half, Fox 29 reporter Kacie McDonnell, is making headlines due to a lovestruck LeSean McCoy interrupting her traffic segment, and you can bank on at least two tailgaters getting slapped over stares next season.
To see more of the Murrays, you can watch the full episode at ABC.com (then unplug your earbuds, clear your browser history and watch Die Hard to scrub the sensitivity off you).
5 Chiefs Crack the 'Top 100 Players of 2014'
[Pauses Die Hard]
Every year, the NFL Network unveils a new iteration of their "Top 100" series. And every year, fanbases flood their customer service, detailing why snubbed Player X got the short end of the stick.
Fortunately for Chiefs fans, the team had no shortage of names on the list. Five familiar faces—the same amount as last year—breached the Top 100, with Jamaal Charles (No. 8) topping his teammates and Derrick Johnson (No. 64) rounding out the group.
|20||Jamaal Charles||Jamaal Charles||8|
|49||Justin Houston||Tamba Hali||43|
|59||Derrick Johnson||Eric Berry||50|
|65||Dwayne Bowe||Justin Houston||57|
|75||Brandon Flowers||Derrick Johnson||64|
Now, if Kansas Citians had a case for any local slights, the only valid one would be Dontari Poe. The man is a nightmarish 340-pound ball of mystery meat. (That sounds less graphic the fewer times it's read.) He's a Happy Meal away from National Geographic classifying him as a mountain, but he runs like someone chasing a ring-snatching hedgehog.
That being said, second-year nose tackles tend not to scream "sexy" when it comes to media coverage, especially when they're double-teamed every snap like clockwork.
Captain Obvious: Voting isn't an exact science.
Players, whose submissions comprise the "Top 100," tend to factor in their cohort's body of work. Fan votes are dictated by demographic, putting smaller markets at a disadvantage. Writers will hold a grudge against an All-Star who looked at them funny after Game 7 in 1984.
In other words, rankings aren't a reason to blare "Fight the Power" and pound all-caps emails to Bryan in tech support.
Joe Delaney Receives the '30 for 30' Treatment
A lot of athletes are painted as self-entitled, overindulgent oafs who enter every room with a strut that screams "pompous."
Joe Delaney was the polar opposite. The equally overachieving and beloved white knight whose inimitable brand of selflessness claimed his life at age 24.
According to the official site of Northwestern State athletics, an ESPN 30 for 30 crew recently toured the rusher's former campus.
Though the air date has yet to be announced, the episode will shine a spotlight on the storied act of selflessness, which rewinds to June 29, 1983, when Delaney—a non-swimmer who, in his only full NFL season, started in the Pro Bowl as the AFC Rookie of the Year—darted out from under a shade tree and into a pond in an effort to save three drowning children.
Per KCChiefs.com, six-time Pro Bowler Deron Cherry recounts:
You ask yourself, 'What would you do in that situation?' And if you have to think about it, then you know you're not going to do the right thing. But he never thought about it. The only thing on his mind was, 'I need to save these kids.'
Due to the fan favorite's infinitely heroic effort, one of the kids survived. Delaney and the other two children, however, passed away.
ESPN's Rick Reilly adds:
You know, I think we need to remember Joe Delaney because...so much goes wrong, and all you hear about in the 24-hour news cycle is the idiots who screw up. There are great people in the NFL, and Joe Delaney may have been the greatest.
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