Chiefs Tampering Charge Reportedly Centers On Jarrad Page, Gunther Cunningham

The Kansas City Chiefs have filed tampering charges against the Detroit Lions, FOXSports.com reported on Thursday. Former Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham -- now in the same position with the Lions -- was "believed" to be connected to the charges, according to the report.

Indeed, the claim centers on Cunningham and former Chief -- and current Patriot -- Jarrad Page, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

A person familiar with the allegation said it centers on Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and Page, though the particulars of the charge are unclear.

We don't know the particulars either but we can probably get going in the right direction. For starters, the Lions were definitely interested in Page at one point. We heard itDetroit papers heard it. ESPN heard it. It seems that the cat's been out of the bag on that one.

So where did the tampering come from?

Here's how the league defines tampering: "any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissably induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL."

OK, here are a bunch of my thoughts on the whole situation, from start to finish.

***

As an employee of the Lions, Cunningham said back in February:

"(Kansas City) keeps wanting to dump their players. I would like to be there to catch a lot of them because I know a couple of those guys."

That perked some ears because he expressed general interest in multiple players on one team. In theory, this comment could have made Page's agent say to the Chiefs, 'Just release him. The Lions will be there to pick him up.' It could also be used in contract situations if the team tries to get a player to take a pay cut. No reason to take a pay cut because, well, Gunther will take him. That's why tampering is not allowed in the NFL and why this comment raised some eyebrows.

***

There were also a few public statements from John Page, Jarrad Page's agent and brother, that piques our interest in light of the latest news. We heard a lot from John Page on Aug. 6 when he issued a press release announcing the trade request and later that day appeared on Nick Wright's show on 610 Sports.

All of his comments come back into focus now that news comes of Page's reported involvement in the tampering charges with the Lions. If the tampering charges center on Cunningham and Jarrad, then that suggests there was contact between the two. Specifically, contact that aimed to bring Jarrad out of KC and into Detroit.

Was there contact between them to constitute tampering? If so, what kind of contact? How did the Chiefs find out? Lots of unanswered questions here.

***

John Page said they requested a trade after the third preseason game in the 2009 season and again this summer. During an Aug. 6 interview with Nick Wright of 610 Sports, John Page was asked why the Chiefs hadn't sought that trade, despite his (public) request.

"That's not clear," he said. "I think they should be asked that. They should be asked to give a full explanation because at this point we attempted to work it out. We weren't able to do that. We notified them with more than enough time [before training camp] to make that happen.

In that same day, the press release from John Page indicated that there was interest from other team(s).

There has been interest for Jarrad and the Chiefs are blocking legitimate trades. There's been plenty of time to get a trade done and at this point, in our opinion, it's clear that the Chiefs are being Vindictive.

In light of the tampering charges, my speculative question would be: How did John Page know there was interest and trade talk surrounding Jarrad? If that information came from the Lions (Gunther) to Jarrad or John, then it could be interpreted as an "attempt by a club to impermissably induce a person to seek employment with that club."

It's also possible he and Jarrad were getting it from media reports/other places and had not spoken with Cunningham or the Lions.

***

To wrap this up, we don't know what the details are. We don't know precisely why the Chiefs took this step or what the Lions have done to make them think tampering has occurred. We'll see how this plays out but it should be noted that teams are rarely punished for tampering, even with seemingly sufficient evidence, as Albert Haynesworth has shown us. I'm not sure why this situation would be any different.

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