During the 2010 offseason, Andy Reid and the rest of Philadelphia Eagles' management raved about Kevin Kolb and his inevitable development into a franchise quarterback.
Ten passes later, and it appears that the long awaited "Kolb-era" has come to a premature end.
Yesterday, Reid announced that Michael Vick will officially take over the starting quarterback job, a job that had been promised to Kolb ever since former franchise QB Donovan McNabb was traded in April.
It remains to be seen whether Vick will prove successful in his new role. But after this drastic shift, he will have a long-term opportunity to exhibit both his talents and flaws to the Philadelphia populace.
Reid likely believes that the Eagles have a better chance to succeed in 2010 with Vick as the starting quarterback, despite his obvious respect for Kolb and his potential. And Reid may very well be proven correct.
The move away from Kolb, however, will have implications that will linger long past this season.
The Move Away From Kolb
Kolb was the "quarterback of the future." The Eagles traded away one of the best passers of this era in order to give him a shot to prove his worth.
Everyone in the Eagles' organization stood firmly behind Kolb after the McNabb trade. The proposal that Michael Vick could end up as the starting QB under any circumstances was disregarded by team officials as mere sports-radio chatter.
They flatly promised Kolb the job.
Then, after one bad half and a concussion, they took it away.
There are many words to describe this type of behavior. Disloyalty. Dishonesty. Betrayal.
Kolb will obviously view this move as such. He has responded to the demotion with class in the media, but as a competitor who waited three seasons for his chance to start, he is likely infuriated.
But from a long-term perspective, Kolb's reaction is not particularly important. He is under contract until 2011, and according to Reid, he is still viewed as the future franchise quarterback.
But can Kolb trust Reid? In fact, can anyone trust Reid?
That is the greatest casualty of this maneuver. Andy Reid, the face of Eagles management and to the rest of the league, can no longer be trusted.
The Eagles - An Organization to Trust?
The Eagles' organization has been criticized in the past.
Their failure to re-sign Brian Dawkins was viewed as a slight against the importance of veterans in the locker room. Brian Westbrook speculated that the organization was more concerned with money than with winning after being released.
Both criticisms had elements of truth, but the Eagles had legitimate defenses.
With Dawkins, they never could have anticipated that the Denver Broncos would offer Dawkins such a lucrative contract. Westbrook could be brushed off as a disgruntled former employee.
However, this betrayal of Kolb cannot be explained. He was guaranteed the starting job unequivocally.
Had he struggled for an extended period of time, the move would have been defensible. But considering that Kolb was given only one half as the unquestioned starter, it appears that Kolb was blatantly lied to by an organization that did not have sufficient confidence in his abilities.
If the fans and Kolb no longer trust the team, that is disappointing. But Kolb will still be under contract, and the rabid Philadelphia fanbase will still follow the Eagles.
But opposing teams and players have watched this drama unfold as well. And their opinions do matter.
Let's assume the Eagles are attempting to sign a high-profile offensive lineman in free agency. They are bidding against the Green Bay Packers.
The Eagles are offering the most money. They are promising that the lineman will be the keystone of the offensive line for the next seven seasons.
Then, Ted Thompson, GM of the Packers, meets with the player.
He reminds the lineman that the Eagles are an organization that cannot be trusted. In fact, they lied to a guy that they themselves drafted as their quarterback of the future.
If Reid would do that to his hand-picked guy, what would he do to a mere mercenary?
The lack of trust extends to front-office hires as well.
Reid could be attempting to hire a hotshot scout. He tells the scout that his opinions will be given a high priority in the war room on draft day.
Why should the scout trust Reid? After all, he lied to Kolb.
And he was willing to do so in a high-profile, media-filled environment. Behind closed doors, many will fear that Reid would be even more ruthless.
If Andy Reid felt that Michael Vick had a chance of stealing Kevin Kolb's job this early in the season, he should not have built up Kolb as the unquestioned starter.
Now, he simply looks like a liar.
People like to work for employers that they trust. Not employers that will fire them on a whim.
Sadly, the Kevin Kolb situation seems to paint a picture of an organization that no longer has integrity.
Kolb may be hurting right now. But down the road, the Eagles will be the ones suffering the consequences of this rash move.