The report from 610 Sports' Nick Wright about Kansas City Chiefs rookie WR Jonathan Baldwin injuring his wrist during a locker room scuffle with Chiefs' RB Thomas Jones, and Adam Schefter has now chimed in on it, is disappointing and has ramifications on a number of levels. Especially if Baldwin misses the rest of the preseason or, worse, parts of the regular season.
A couple of caveats are we don't know who started the fight, how long it lasted, if anyone escalated it or what. Heck the Chiefs haven't even gone on the record to confirm it (and don't hold your breath for that). But I can tell you this. Jonathan Baldwin will almost certainly come out of this incident looking worse than Thomas Jones, considering people have been waiting for an excuse to confirm those pre-draft reports of Baldwin's supposed attitude problems.
Here are five quick thoughts on this fight, if the details we are hearing are true:
Jonathan Baldwin's "diva" reputation hasn't escaped him. Baldwin came into the NFL with somewhat of a bad reputation. Specifically, he had the "diva" label attached to him. But since he's been in camp and if you've been following him on twitter, those attitude problems seemingly haven't been a problem at all. But now? If this fight report is true, this unfortunately validated some people's suspicions about Baldwin's attitude (with the caveat that we don't have many details on the fight). Even if Thomas Jones started this fight, you don't like hearing that Baldwin was injured, supposedly by fighting back.
Who Baldwin scuffled with is important. Thomas Jones is a clear leader on this Kansas City Chiefs team. The fact that this reported scuffle happened with a veteran team leader, who had giant freakin' arms no less, is plain stupid. He didn't scuffle with a DB after a play in camp. He reportedly scuffled with a 12-year NFL veteran who is the leader of the team. This doesn't play out well for any sort of locker room chemistry, whoever started it.
Roster implications. If Baldwin can't go for the rest of the preseason as reported, someone has to fill in for him. Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban and Jeremy Horne are lined up to take Baldwin's potential depth chart spot if he can't make it. This may push Baldwin's timeline for starting deeper into the season.
This could help Dwayne Bowe's contract negotiations for next season. Dwayne Bowe is the clear No. 1 receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs and he's in a contract year. If the Chiefs' No. 1 draft pick misses the preseason, doesn't get the playing time he needs to develop, this may give Dwayne Bowe more leverage in his contract negotiations.
Then again, this could turn out to be nothing. Right now, the Kansas City Chiefs haven't confirmed anything and they probably never will. So even if this is true, it could have been a small scuffle related to weeks of pent up, post-lockout energy. Maybe Thomas Jones was simply putting the rookie in his spot and Baldwin got the message. The thing is, we don't know right now.
We'll have to wait and see what develops before permanently arriving at any of these conclusions. But right now, things do not look good for Jonathan Baldwin.