KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No football coach likes to discipline a player, his top cornerback no less. That's particularly true for Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who develops uncommonly close relationships with players and has been reluctant to discipline players for in-game transgressions because he likes to allow them to show their personalities.
So when Reid suspended cornerback Marcus Peters for Sunday's game (1 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Oakland Raiders for his inexplicable actions toward the end of last Sunday's game against the New York Jets, it tells the depth of the situation.
Peters lost his temper at a critical time late in the Jets game by tossing an official's penalty flag into the stands and receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his action. He then committed the bigger crime of deserting the Chiefs by retreating to the locker room, even though he wasn't officially ejected from the game.
"I like Marcus Peters, so, yeah, that's a difficult thing to do," Reid said. "Any time you have to do one of these things, that's not the best part of the job. But I've always told you, I'm going to do what I feel is best for this organization [at] that time, and I try to sit back, and I try to evaluate it, and that's what I did, and this is the conclusion I came down with."
Reid had to take a stand here. If he hadn't, who knows what Peters' next move might have been?
Peters has given the Chiefs more than his share of problems this season. He shouted at Reid during a game in Los Angeles. He shouted at defensive coordinator Bob Sutton during another game and directed an obscenity at a fan behind the Chiefs' bench at Arrowhead Stadium.
None of those incidents alone deserved a suspension. But the pattern has been established, and it was only going to get worse if Reid didn't take a stand now.
The timing could be better for the Chiefs, who have lost their past four games. Peters is the Chiefs' best cornerback, and Sunday's game is against the Raiders, who at 6-6 are tied with the Chiefs and Chargers for first place in the AFC West. The Chiefs couldn't slow quarterback Derek Carr and Oakland's passing game when the teams met in Week 7 with Peters on the field, so the job won't be simple without Peters this time.
But there's a bigger issue here. Peters crossed the line in New York, going from a nuisance to a detriment.
He has to be redirected back on the right path, and a mere scolding wasn't going to do the job.
There's no guarantee the suspension will do it. But Reid had to try.