It was reported earlier today that Kansas City Chiefs rookie wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin was involved in a fight with veteran running back Thomas Jones, resulting in a wrist injury for Baldwin that has left him questionable for the remainder of the preseason.
While it is still unclear who initiated the fight, the incident has many writers pointing fingers at the so-called "diva" Baldwin as a probable instigator.
However, I think this fight signals greater trouble for Jones than for Baldwin, for a few reasons.
The first is that this is not the first fight that Jones has gotten into with a teammate. In 2006, he was in a fistfight with then-teammate, running back Cedric Benson, when the two were playing for the Chicago Bears.
While Jones had continued his career without incident in the five years that followed, it is a clear indicator that Jones has in him a degree of inability to display appropriate self-control.
Training camps and locker rooms are very much high-tension places in the NFL, and tempers do flare. However, the vast majority of players are able to keep themselves in check and not take arguments to the next step of actual physical violence.
It is a poor reflection on Jones for being unable to exhibit enough self-discipline to not escalate whatever issues he was having with Baldwin into fisticuffs.
Another reason why this fight may bring Jones to the tipping point on the Chiefs roster is that the Chiefs already have an extremely talented running back in Jamaal Charles, who is entering his fourth year.
While I am sure the veteran leadership of Jones is certainly welcomed, this fight gives the Chiefs another reason to focus on Charles as the future of their running game. Jones is 33 years old and likely does not have many more seasons to make significant contributions on the field for the Chiefs.
Also, the fact remains that someone is to blame for this fight, and someone will draw the ire of management and his fellow teammates alike. I believe this person will be Jones, simply because Baldwin is the Chiefs' 2011 first-round draft pick.
The Chiefs drafted Baldwin to be a starter, playmaker and eventual offensive leader. I don't think the Chiefs—or any team, for that matter—would be willing to scrap their first draft pick without his even playing in a single regular-season game based on his participation in a locker room fight.
If a player is to be sacrificed as a result of this incident, then it certainly stands to reason that player will be Jones.