The Core: Brodie Croyle

Croyle arrives at training camp and strikes a pose an eerily appropriate pose.

Croyle arrives at training camp and strikes an eerily appropriate pose.

Now that Todd Haley has identified some of the players he believes will be core guys for the program moving forward, I thought we’d take some time to talk about and discuss the new leaders of this team.

 One of the more surprising core players mentioned by Haley was backup QB, Brodie Croyle.

 Known as “Brokie Croyle” to many Chiefs fans, Brodie was once touted by the old regime as the future of the franchise. Unfortunately for Croyle, due to a combination of poor play, injury problems and an absolutely dreadful team and coaching staff, that future never really arrived.

You had to feel for Croyle. He dropped to the 3rd round of the draft for fear that he was injury prone. From the moment he was drafted by the Chiefs Croyle faced criticism from NFL pundits. Most did not feel Croyle had the talent to be a starter in the NFL.

Herm Edwards, however, felt differently and gave Croyle a shot to start the final 6 games of 2007. You know the rest. Croyle lost every game he started and put up lackluster numbers. He was given another shot. Brodie began the 2008 season as the starter, was injured in the very first game against New England and then, upon his return a few weeks later, was knocked out for the season. Most declared the Brodie Croyle experiment over. No one thought he would be back. The last image we had of Croyle in 2008 was provided to us by Bob Gretz:

 It was without a doubt, the saddest sight of a very sad day of football for the Chiefs.

Just outside the team’s locker room are double-doors that lead down the tunnel at the 50-yard line and out to the field. Just before half-time, those double doors opened and Brodie Croyle limped through with a doctor and a trainer at his side.

Tears were streaming down his face.

That’s when he saw his wife Kelli waiting for him. Together they embraced and he sobbed on her shoulder for several minutes.

 I remember being particularly struck by this portion of the article. Presumably all Croyle ever wanted was to be an NFL QB. He had come tantalizingly close to making it but his bodies frame was working against him. I never thought I would see Croyle in a Chiefs uniform again. I wasn’t even sure he’d play football again. What team was going to take a chance on a severely injury prone QB who had never played that well in the NFL to begin with?

 The Chiefs.

  Unable to be released while injured, Croyle continued to rehab as the new regime came in and started making changes. He was an afterthought. Most fans figured he’d be gone by the third preseason game.

 Months later Croyle is not THE future of the Kansas City Chiefs but he an integral part of it, at least according to Todd Haley.

 “Brodie Croyle you can’t overlook,” Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said. “I perceive him playing a critical role for us as we go forward.”

 I agree. Croyle may never make it as a starter but the Chiefs would be wise to keep him. If Matt Cassel has taught us anything it is that a QB can still learn and develop, even while sitting on the bench. There are many men who have made very nice careers for themselves as backup QB’s. Guys like Damon Huard and Charlie Batch.

 It isn’t glamorous being the guy wearing the ball cap and holding the clipboard. Who wouldn’t want to be out there playing? But this is the NFL. Only 32 guys in the entire world can say that they are a starting quarterback in the National Football League. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t guys out there like Croyle, that are still very important to their organization.

 Croyle is a true Chief. He has never complained. He did not demand a trade when the Chiefs brought in Matt Cassel. He quietly went about his business, rehabbed his knee, showed he was at least the second most talented QB on the roster and started the Baltimore game in place of an injured Matt Cassel.

 I am sure Charlie Batch would have liked to make it as a starter in the NFL. I am sure he will always wonder what might have been. But to say he hasn’t been massively important to the Steelers success at times would be foolish. And I don’t think he’ll be giving his Super Bowl rings back anytime soon either.

 Croyle has never asked the Chiefs for anything but has always given his all. I’d say that makes him one of the right 53, one of the core. If he gets an opportunity to leave and he takes it, I wouldn’t blame him.

 But if he wants to stay, I’d say he is more than welcome.

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Tags: Brodie Croyle Charlie Batch Damon Huard Herman Edwards Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel Todd Haley

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