Thanks to Stampede Blue, we have some of Mike Chappell’s interview from "The Dan Dakich Show."
GonzalezDakich asked Chappell follow-up questions about Anthony Gonzalez spurred by this story in Tuesday’s Indianapolis Star.
Dan Dakich: "Is Gonzalez, is he upset about this? Is this a problem?"
Mike Chappell: "Yeah. I tried to be very careful in how I phrased-"
Dan Dakich: "Yeah, I can tell."
Mike Chappell: "Because, again, I even asked him "Does [inaudible] frustrate you?" And he says "Well..." and he wouldn't really go there. But, it's clear that, from what he didn't say, promises were made in the off-season about how the opportunity he would have to compete for the job, and the only way I can read into it is he doesn't think he was given the fair shot he was promised. Is he upset? I don't know. This isn't DEFCON-5. He's clearly not 100% happy with how things panned out because basically he lost his job by injury, if you want to read into it."
Separately, Chappell said: "You have to keep in mind, [Gonzalez] is a very thoughtful, I won't say 'calculating,' but he really thinks about what he's saying. He doesn't just blow off. So, the fact that he stuck around and talked to me and talked to a couple of us, it's clear he wanted to get something off his chest. He wasn't blasting the management as players have been known to do. He just saying, ‘Yeah, promises were made. I was promised I would have a chance to work for the starting job’. And I tried to get him to say, ‘And promises weren't kept.’ And he wouldn't go there, but he clearly implied that."
It’s unusual for a player to express such feelings publicly, even as careful as Gonzalez was. So firstly, we should congratulate him on being human.
I would suspect this would prompt Jim Caldwell to visit with Gonzalez, if he hasn’t already, not to staple his mouth shut but to talk things out in Caldwell's reasonable and calm way.
Odds are the Colts made the promises Gonzalez spoke of at one point, and following through on them became difficult for them for some reason. Staffs aren’t usually compelled to offer players such updates, but a guy like Gonzalez, working to win a job back that he lost as a result of injury, probably deserved one.
No matter how frustrated he may be right now and no matter where he ranks in the receiving corps, I fully expect him to play a crucial role for the Colts in what happens to them this season.
You can find the Chappell interview as well as a conversation I had with Dakich Tuesday about AFC South issues here.