Show of hands: who sat straight up in their chair, couch, lawn chair, bean bag, bar stool, toilet, or whatever they were perched on and shouted, "WHAT??? WOW!" when the 1st Round Selection of the Kansas City Chiefs was said by Roger Goodell to be Jon Baldwin? I know I did, as I thought there was only an owner's chance in court that Scott Pioli would take a WR in the 1st round, let alone one with as many question marks that Baldwin had. I wonder how big the spike of youtube videos were of Baldwin highlights the following 2 hrs. after the selection was made, as most fans knew very little about Baldwin and definitely didn't know the Chiefs were interested in him.
With that said, I'm decently excited about the potential of Baldwin and the dynamic he can add to this offense, as he can hopefully become a consistent pass catcher, red-zone threat, and have a positive impact on the development of Matt Cassel, Tony Moeaki, and possibly Dexter McCluster on the field.
Baldwin's impact on Dwayne Bowe on the field will be expected as well, as he can take the pressure off of D-Bowe as the only receiver able to consistently make plays, ultimately relieving the double teams from opposing defenses that Bowe saw the latter part of the 2010 season. However, it's Baldwin's impact on Bowe off the field and vice versa that I will be interested to see.
The very first call I would make if I was Todd Haley (once this darn lockout is over, stupid players :-) would be to Bowe. I can see the conversation now!
Phone rings, "Big Pimpin'" ring tone:
-Bowe: Yo yo yiggety yo! You on the mike with D-Bowe!
-Haley: Dwayne, how you doing buddy?
-Man, who is this? I told you to call me Mr. T.D-Bowe!
-Dwayne, it's your head coach, Todd! How you doing? Did you watch the draft?
-Oh, I thought it was my girl importer, ohh, I mean my antiques importer. Sorry coach! I'm good. I didn't watch the draft. I was watching Dancing With the Stars, trying to decide between going on the show next season, or starting my own reality series, "The Real Wide Receivers of Kansas City" starring myself and........nevermind.
-That's great Dwayne! Listen, this might come as a shock, but we drafted what we think will be a big time playmaking WR in the 1st round this year.
-Nice! I might have a co-star for my series! Who was it? Green? Jones? Hankerson? Young? Smith?
-Jon Baldwin, out of Pitt!
-Look, Dwayne, this kid is going to need some work. He has tremendous potential and could be the next Larry Fitzgerald.
-You're just saying that b/c he went to Pitt and you have a man-crush on Fitz.
-No, I'm serious, Dwayne. I can only do so much here with Jon as a coach. I'm asking you, Dwayne, to help this kid. Take him under your wing, show him what it takes to be a successful professional in this league. Show him the level of dedication, hard-work, and practice it will require to be a consistent, respected player amongst his peers. Show him that self-respect, along with respect for the community and the fans by not doing boneheaded things will go further than any fame ever will. I know you can do this, Dwayne. You really stepped up your game on the field last year and have responded well to my tough love to produce at the level you are capable of. Now it's time to show me that you are a leader of this team, that you care about more than just your on-field statistics. It's time to show your true worth to this team. Can you handle that?
-I think so, Coach. I'm happy you have asked me to do this. I'm ready to be a leader and make my mark on the Kansas City Chiefs for all of history to see that I'm not just another diva WR that wants money and fame over the betterment of the team I am blessed to be a part of.
-That's great to hear, Dwayne! I'm looking forward to seeing what you can offer to this kid and the team this season. We will talk to you soon.
-I can't wait, Coach. Talk to you then.....and I love you.
-Yeah, yeah, no homo, I get it.
-No seriously coach! I love y........
Haley hangs up.
Ok, so while I can only hope the conversation ends somewhat in that manner of Bowe accepting this responsibility, I would expect Haley to make this call to Bowe, asking him to show that he is a major part of making this team great, not just making himself great. We all know that Bowe is going into a contract year, and we've all seen many many players take their game to a whole new level when big money is on the line (let's hope this isn't reflective of Tamba Hali), but I fully believe that while Baldwin may not have been taken to be any kind of Bowe replacement, it is an option if re-signing/extending Dwayne to a new contract after the 2011 season proves to be a difficult proposition. If Bowe blows up again on the field in 2011, I've said it before, I don't think there is a player on this team that carries more of an egocentric characteristic to demand a BIG contract based on his on-field performance than Bowe does. Of course this is just pure speculation on my part of Bowe's characteristics, but I think it's a justifiable assumption nonetheless.
At this point, if Bowe can help Baldwin become a consumate professional by leading the way in a positive manner through example and tutelage in 2011, I don't think it would matter what Bowe does on the field. Whether it be 1700 yds. receiving and 30 TDs, or 17 yds. receiving and 0 TDs, as long as he's being a positive influence to Baldwin, I would guess that is much more important to Todd Haley and Scott Pioli in the long run than Bowe's production on the field going into a contract negotiation. I equate this to the Mike Vrabel situation, in that keeping him around the team and on the field probably much more than he should have been considering his production is well worth it's weight in gold considering his presence, tutelage, and positive impact on the young players around him. And on the flip side of that, if Bowe shows no interest in helping Baldwin along his path as a 1st round rookie in his first year as a Chief, again, I don't think it will matter what Bowe does on the field, he probably won't get a new contract from this team, whether he's demanding too big of a contract from having a monster year, or because he didn't produce well enough to justify keeping on the team and not offering at least the guidance and tutelage for the younger players around him.
So, D-Bowe, Dwayne, which direction you going to go with this? Down the path of the righteous, or the self-righteous? Only time will tell, along with D-Bowe, who will apparently tell the world that professional athletes get girls imported to their hotel rooms when they are on the road. Nicely done, Dwayne!