When I visited the Kansas City Chiefs’ training camp this week, people in the organization went out of their way to say that first-round draft pick Jonathan Baldwin had not displayed a poor attitude thus far. Baldwin had a reputation as a diva receiver at Pitt. But all was good in Kansas City.
Before this occurred.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed a report that Baldwin and veteran running back Thomas Jones were in a locker-room fight this week and Baldwin is doubtful to play in the rest of the preseason because of a wrist injury he suffered in the fight.
What bothers me the most about this news is that Jones was involved. He is a locker-room leader and is highly respected. To my knowledge, it has not been in his character, in Kansas City, to be involved in such incidents. Was Jones frustrated with Baldwin’s attitude? Something happened to trigger this fight.
This, of course, is not the end of the world for Baldwin and the Chiefs. Things happen in NFL locker rooms. Had Baldwin not been hurt, I bet we would have never found out about the fight. This incident does not make his selection a mistake. But it is a legitimate red flag.
Baldwin -- who stayed at the home of Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel when they worked out together after the draft -- clearly had some type of problem with a respected veteran. He must move past this.
Worst of all, it has affected his ability to help the team. Baldwin needs all the repetitions he can get. By likely missing the next three games, it will stunt his ability to get ready for the regular season. This is a significant obstacle in the early stages of Baldwin’s Kansas City career.
UPDATE: I spoke to Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc about this incident. Here is his take on the situation:
“Baldwin is a high-risk, high-reward guy. He is extremely talented, but he comes with baggage, there’s no hiding that.”