Editor’s note: To thank Dontari Poe for talking with us, visit the Poe Man’s Dream Foundation and buy a t-shirt which donates a backpack with school supplies for kids. It would be cool if our little community here could help out. Thanks all!
The story of JJ Watt’s injury Thursday night was good timing. Dontari Poe had a herniated disc like Watt and it came at a similar time of the year. I spoke with Poe yesterday and asked him about coming back from that very injury. Like I said, good timing.
Texans fans, you can read our coverage of Poe’s injury last year here. We were thinking he would be out up to three months. He was out about two months instead. That is because Poe is a cyborg and not from this planet.
"During the season I didn’t get to 100 percent," Poe told me in a phone interview on Thursday. "Football wise I started playing better around Week 10 or something like that. It was kind of a crash course last year. Right after the surgery I got into as much rehab as I could and I was back at it. So it kinda came to me fast."
The question we care about now is how he’s feeling entering the 2016 season. The answer will make you smile.
"Right now is the best my back has felt in about two or three years," Poe said. "So I’m ready, I’m really ready."
Poe is also ready for a new contract. The Chiefs exercised his fifth year option which will pay him over $6 million this season, the final year he’s under contract.
I asked him directly if he knew if the Chiefs wanted him back next year and he said he did not know - his agent does his part, he does his part.
"It won’t be (a distraction) at all," Poe said of his contract year. "You gotta understand, people get good contracts because they play good. So if you play good, it takes care of itself. As long as I focus on that and keep my mind focused on doing what I gotta do on the field, the finances will take care of itself. That’s as simple as you can put it. You start running the scenarios in your head and you forget the most important thing which is playing ball."
That is a simple - and accurate - way of looking at it. If Poe takes care of his business, the business with the Chiefs will take care of itself ... except, just last week, that’s not what happened with Eric Berry.
"I was (surprised)," Poe said of Berry’s deal ... I mean, non-deal. "But at the same time, that’s not my job. My job is to play football. It is what it is from my standpoint. Just the type of guy he is, I thought they could’ve worked something out but at the same time they just didn’t. So I just play football. That’s my job."
Poe’s contract year, Berry’s lack of contract, Justin Houston’s injury ... it seems like there are some big question marks here right before training camp. Will the Chiefs have time to put it together before Week 1?
"I’m not worried," Poe said of possible Berry and Houston absences from camp. "You gotta understand, it’s a next man up mentality. It’s not like it’s the middle of the season. We still got training camp, we still got time to get some stuff worked out. Come into training camp with the right mindset and we’ll hit the ground running Week 1."
The Chiefs will need to hit the ground running and avoid a start like last year if their goal is to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl.
"If you’re not going for a Super Bowl, you’re not going for anything ... everything else really don’t matter."