The Glaring Undertones Of Bryant McKinnie's Pro Bowl Absence
Welcome, Bryant McKinnie , to the growing ranks of regretful Tweeters. Your Twitter updates of strip clubs and partying the same week you skipped Pro Bowl practice has thrust you into the annals of Twitter gaffes.
Going deeper, your actions say a lot without actually saying anything.
A number of the University of Miami alum's actions over the course of the past year have led me to ask one question: does Bryant McKinnie want to be a Minnesota Viking?
The NFL announced this week that Bryant McKinnie has forfeited his $22,500 game check after being dismissed from the NFC Pro Bowl team and that they have required him to repay the league $4,285 for incurred expenses that week. It was reported during the week of the Pro Bowl that McKinnie, the NFC's starter at left tackle, had missed a number of practices.
When asked about the absences, he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Chip Scoggins via text message that he "decided I didn't wanna play" and complained of pain in his feet. He told NFC offensive line coach Hudson Houck that he was ill. Houck told reporters, "he said Tuesday that he had the flu. Maybe it was the flu."
It wasn't the flu. At least not according to McKinnie's Twitter account, bigmacvikings. January 28th, three days before the Pro Bowl, McKinnie told followers "on my way 2 Mansion, " referencing the Mansion Miami nightclub in his hometown. The next night, he wrote "leaving the beach headed 2 KOD's ". KOD's meaning the King of Diamonds gentlemen's club.
When made aware of these Twitter updates, Houck was surprised. "Really? Well, this really is kind of a unique situation."
Going back further, McKinnie was benched for backup lineman Artis Hicks during the December 20th loss to Carolina after allowing two sacks on QB Brett Favre . Declining performances such as this 26-7 loss lead many people scratch their heads when McKinnie was selected for the 2010 Pro Bowl.
After the game, McKinnie told his Twitter followers “I had a off day. There is something we gotta fix this week 2 put me n better position.” Although Vikings coach Brad Childress took the blame from McKinnie, it was evident that the 6'8" tackle was playing down from his usual level.
Add to this the Love Boat Scandal in 2005 and McKinnie's four-game suspension at the beginning of the '08 season for assaulting a bouncer at a Miami nightclub. Is the recent Pro Bowl/Twitter scandal just another incident to add to the list, or is it something more?
So why all of the drama this season? Could Bryant McKinnie be setting himself up for trade? A number of teams have suffered from poor offensive line play and injuries during the 2009 season, including the Green Bay Packers.
Although it's unlikely that the Vikings would trade McKinnie—especially after Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman told the media that the Vikings "are so early in the offseason yet, but we are anticipating all of our players being back"— but it's not impossible.
After losing center Matt Birk in free agency before the start of the 2009 season, the Vikings offensive line is young and will need to train hard during the offseason to battle some glaring issues. Backup Hicks serves as a solid utility player, but is unlikely to be able to fill McKinnie's shoes. Still, fans will salivate over the idea of trading McKinnie to a team like the Oakland Raiders for a name like CB Nnamdi Asomugha .
Whatever the case may be, both McKinnie and the Vikings need to buckle down for what may be a bumpy ride in their relationship in 2010.
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