LB Derrick Thomas
A six-time All-Pro, Thomas played his entire 11-year career with the Chiefs. Once he sacked the quarterback seven times in a game. Thomas was one of the great pass rushers of the ‘90s, totaling double-digit sack totals in seven seasons. He remains the Chiefs’ defensive leader in forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and, of course, sacks.
Kansas City Chiefs
LB Anthony Hitchens ($12,692,500)
DE Alex Okafor ($7,221,875)
LB Dorian O’Daniel ($963,879)
My pick: RB Darrel Williams ($755,000)
WR Gehrig Dieter ($675,000)
The defending Super Bowl champs are in need of cap space, which is why they would be willing to float a pair of possible starters in Hitchens and Okafor. Hitchens is a solid linebacker being paid like a superstar, while Okafor has had injury issues and probably profiles best as a rotational pass-rusher.
We’ll avoid them and go after a cheaper option in Williams, who scored a short-yardage touchdown for the Chiefs in the playoffs. Not many backs profile as both a possible goal-line runner and receiving option without also projecting as a primary back, but Williams could be the exception.
“KC felt like home when we first moved here, and now it’s going to be home forever!” Schwartz wrote. “We’re so excited to settle down here long term and continue being a part of the KC community!”
In a Snapchat post, Hill said Tuesday: “Check this out, this is what I need everyone to do, man, do this for me and my family. We’re going through a hard time right now. I hear a lot of people saying, ‘post-corona, post-corona,’ man, but my pops just tested positive for corona, so keep my family in prayers.”
Mahomes expressed his belief that Brees is truly remorseful and taking the right actions to prove that he supports the fight against racial inequality:
“Obviously, his statement missed the point and missed what was going on in the world today and took away attention from the movement that was going on and the peaceful protesting that was going on. ... But I think you see with his actions afterward, and I believe with his actions moving forward, you will see the true person that he is.”
New South Carolina linebackers coach Rod Wilson was along for the ride as a Kansas City assistant special teams coach. A former Gamecock himself, Wilson spoke with pride when asked about the work he saw Fenton put in in between getting drafted in April to holding the Lombardi Trophy in February.
“I can’t wait to see what Rashad does this year,” Wilson said recently. “Rashad has a lot of talent. If he keeps going the way he is going, developmental wise as a student of the game, Rashad is going to be fine.
2019 record: 5-11
The biggest obstacle, of course, is Kansas City. The Chiefs are the defending champs — not just of the division, but the NFL. Patrick Mahomes is the best player in sports. K.C. is freakin’ loaded, especially on offense.
Around the NFL
I don’t want to say the loss to the Titans was the worst postseason loss for Baltimore since Super Bowl III, but it was awful. That said, here is why I would feel great if I were the Ravens. Lamar was terrible in a playoff loss two years ago at home against the Chargers. He had fumbles. He made mistakes. He looked inexperienced. But he used the offseason to work on his game, and he went out and won the MVP award. And if you believe in trends or anything like that, think of the path Patrick Mahomes has taken. He lost a tough playoff game to the Patriots after being selected MVP, then went out and won the Super Bowl the following year. The path is there. Will Lamar and the Ravens take it?
“I regret that we weren’t the one way back when that just did it just to do it, even though I thought that it wasn’t the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” Carroll said. “The reason it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ. It just didn’t feel like it would fit right. That’s the way I felt about it. So I just wish it would happen, and I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then. We’re kind of set up right now, so football-wise, it doesn’t seem to fit us like I said. But there’s a lot of time here. We’ll see what happens.”
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people,” Goodell said in 2020.
But did they mean it? Considering the league’s history of resisting lifesaving reforms, it was easy to doubt the sincerity of Goodell’s new tone. How could we expect moral leadership from an organization that had let too much time pass in every way—time when it put off thinking about women’s safety, put off thinking about Black people’s safety, and put off thinking about its own players’ safety—in order to keep airing commercials?
The answer, of course, is that we can’t. The NFL, as an institution, has given us no reason to believe it has any values at all. Its values are its own success, and everything it says and does, including the things it packages as values-driven, is about nothing but making the league as large and popular and profitable as possible. Individual owners may sometimes exhibit behavior that contains a recognizable principle (this happens rarely, and usually clumsily, and the principle is generally wrong). But when the collective interests of the larger group of owners fuse into league practice, they form a gigantic, amoral machine, whose sole program directive is to keep making money. And the human-accessible interface of that program, the window that pops up to tell you all operators are busy, and your request has been denied, is Roger Goodell.
One person familiar with the league’s program even said the league would be willing to work with Kaepernick on social justice initiatives.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the work Colin and other players have led off,” the person said. “That is a key point here. We listened to our players. We needed to listen more, we needed to move faster. We heard them and launched a social justice platform because of what Colin was protesting about. The players have always been an essential piece of this effort and this campaign. It would be awesome to engage Colin on some of the work we are doing. He’s doing real impactful work. Getting him in some way would be amazing for us. There’s a lot of work to do to get to that point. We’re certainly open and willing to do that.”
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“They haven’t given us anything on start date or not, other than what was the start date before,” Reid said. “So rookies in on [July] 22nd — or you can bring them in a little bit earlier, I guess. You mention that we have this new CBA, so I’ve gone through with training camp and I put together — along with [offensive coordinator] Eric Bieniemy, [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] and [special teams coordinator Dave] Toub — a regular training camp. With flexibility, if we have to go a different direction, we can do it.”
While NFL coaching staffs are now in team facilities, players are not. It’s been up to each individual to hold themselves accountable and work out — whether alone or with their teammates. Safety Tyrann Mathieu has kept himself so ready that he didn’t even let his mind embrace the offseason.
“I don’t think I ever checked out,” Mathieu admitted. “I’m still like in football mode — and I think that’s a good thing for me. So it doesn’t matter when we start. I’m going to be ready to roll. I’m excited about it.”
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