Jonathan Baldwin’s character issues return in reported fight with Thomas Jones
While Jonathan Baldwin entered the 2011 NFL Draft as one of the top wide receivers on the board, he also carried with him the dreaded “character issues” tag. That didn’t scare away the Chiefs, who selected the wide receiver out of Pittsburgh No. 26 overall.
Kansas City coach Todd Haley immediately tried to soothe any concerns about the pick:
“We spoke to Jonathan at length at the combine, a number of us. He was one of our formal interviews and we had him in here as one of our 30 visits that were allowed and we feel like we have done our due-diligence and I am very comfortable making him a Kansas City Chief.”
You have to wonder if Haley still feels that way. A report out of Chiefs camp Friday stated that Baldwin got into a “locker room scuffle” with veteran running back Thomas Jones, which resulted in an injured wrist for Baldwin that could cost him the entire preseason.
Part of that report cited someone who described Baldwin as a “Diva, spoiled, doesn’t wanna listen.” In other words, exactly what those red flags — which included charges of indecent assault, harassment and disorderly conduct that were later dropped — warned everyone about prior to the draft.
We don’t know all the details of what supposedly went on in the Chiefs’ locker room, so it’s not fair to throw Baldwin under the bus completely. But Jones is one of the more well-respected players in the league, a 12-year veteran — so, suffice it to say, throwing down with him probably won’t earn Baldwin a lot of brownie points with his Chiefs teammates or coaches. Skirmishes occasionally break out on the field at training camps as the heat and competition shortens fuses, but they quickly die down. This incident sounds a little more serious than that.
Already prior to this, Baldwin had been struggling in camp and dealing with a hamstring injury. He made one catch for 14 yards in the Chiefs’ preseason-opening loss to Tampa Bay.
Taking aside any in-house issues that Kansas City could have after this, losing Baldwin until the regular season is a blow for the Chiefs’ offense. Baldwin was drafted with the hope that he could start opposite Dwayne Bowe in K.C.’s offense.
Now, there’s almost no shot of that happening at the start of the regular season.
Baldwin had been working hard prior to camp in an effort to prove his worth, even moving in with Matt Cassel after the draft to get extra work with his new QB. If the report about Friday’s incident is true, though, it could set Baldwin back in a number of ways.