If the NFL keeps to the letter of their own laws, an honest answer that Kansas City Chiefs head coach, Romeo Crennel, gave to a reporter’s question about potential free agent quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Chad Henne could be considered tampering and possibly cost the Chiefs a draft choice in April’s college draft and/or a monetary fine.
On Manning, who is still under contract with the Indianapolis Colts, but is due a $28 million bonus if still on the roster on March 8, Crennel said, “I’m not supposed to talk about anyone else’s players. He’s still a player with Indianapolis. But with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. I’ll leave it at that.”
Because the Colts own the #1 pick in this year’s draft and there are two outstanding college quarterbacks, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, to begin the next phase of their franchise with, it’s almost a dead-lock certainty that the Colts will be forced to release Manning from a purely business standpoint. Unless, of course, the two sides can re-negotiate a new contract.
Henne, who has most likely played his last game in a Miami Dolphins uniform, played under the Chiefs new offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll. In regards to Henne, a largely disappointing player, Crennel said, “Because of his relationship with Daboll, I think that would be a consideration. To say right now that would be the case, I’m not ready to do that.”
Sadly, in today’s NFL, those two seemingly innocuous statements directly responding to a question asked during a league-sanctioned press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine could cost the Chiefs.
The NFL’s policy on tampering covers public statements made by team officials. Here’s the part that could land Crennel and the team in hot water:
“Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media, is a violation of this Anti-Tampering Policy. (Example of a prohibited comment: “He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.”)”
To add to the likelihood that the league will come down on the Chiefs is the fact that the team won a tampering claim against the Detroit Lions involving former safety Jarrad Page just last year. They swapped draft picks with the Lions in the fifth round of last year’s draft, allowing them to move up 14 spots.
After enduring former head coach Todd Haley’s stone-faced non-answers to every question anyone ever asked him, Crennel was a breath of fresh air to Chiefs fans everywhere. The grandfatherly coach spoke his mind and gave up more insight and information in three weeks than Haley did in three years.
This time, it may cost him.
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