Chiefs Oust Baldwin: It Was All About Fit, Fit, Fit


Think of NFL players as real estate. After all, they cost more than most of us pay for our own homes and you know what the standard is for real estate value: location, location, location. In the case of Jon Baldwin and Kansas City Chiefs it was all about fit, fit, fit. Because he just didn’t.

Now there are fits… and then there are “fits.” In fact, there’s a thesaurus full of fit.

When I was a kid my younger brother was quite capable of throwing himself on the floor and having the proverbial fit. On the other hand I was what you would call… a “sulker.” That’s why I can sympathize a tiny bit with Jonathan Baldwin. He seemed to be that type of guy: the brooding silent type who would mope around the sidelines as if to ask, “Why doesn’t anyone else see my greatness? I do.”

That’s one specific kind of “fit” that a man with Andy Reid’s value system, was just not going to put up with.

When Baldwin came out of college after his Junior year at Pitt (rhymes with “fit”… and that should have been a clue back then) I wrote a glowing piece about him called “Jonathan Baldwin: A Number One Hit.” I only recall it now because it was a fun piece to write filled with references to many old number one hits in music. I probably should have used “You’re So Vain.”

Even without sitting down with Mr. Jonathan Dupree Baldwin and doing psychoanalysis it became apparent over the years that his ego need outweighed everything. Asking a man like him to “give” for the sake of the team wasn’t within the realm of his understanding.

Do I have a degree in Psychology? Yea, but I really haven’t sat down with the man, it’s just that he comes off that way and I’ve seen it many times before in teaching and coaching.

I was working with some Kansas City inner-city youth back in the early 1990s and we had taken a class of kids to a rural setting and they were being taught about the dos and don’ts of how to deal with snakes in the wild. A celebrity LB from the Chiefs had graced us at the event and the conversation came around to Bo Jackson. He said he’s gone to college with Bo (so you’ll all have to figure this one out on your own) and when one of the other teachers asked him about how often Jackson lifted weights this LB began to laugh. He said, “Bo Jackson NEVER lifted weights!”

He had more stories to tell as well. The following may not be suitable for children under 12 so please change the channel now if that’s you. Our LB celebrity said he went to a Frat party once where everyone was drinking including Mr. Jackson but that he had witnessed a stairwell with “available” woman on every other step and he stood there as Mr. Jackson “F’d”  his way to the top of the stairs.

Now, why would I share a story like that about Bo Jackson when this piece is all about Jon Baldwin. I don’t think there are really many of us who understand what all it entails when we speak about “self-absorbed,” “pseudo-privileged,” “indiscriminately entitled,” athletes who can’t see outside their own imploding self-serving reality.

“Bo Don’t Know Humiliteh” and you can be fairly sure JoBald don’t either.

[Wow, Lyle, I hope that didn’t come across as unnaturally hateful. Hehe]

The common person’s everyday set of challenges… doesn’t really apply to many of today’s mega-sports stars.

I know Jim Harbaugh appears to be a magician but, I’m not betting on him this time.

Another way Jon Baldwin didn’t “fit” in with Kansas City is that he didn’t stay “fit.” Meaning… he was lazy, would not allow himself to be prodded, and clearly didn’t connect with his coach… again. You may recall the friction with Dave Wannstedt, his college coach at Pittsburgh.

Nearly two years ago to the day, our new editor Andrew Kulha wrote a piece called, “Kansas City Chiefs Fights: Drafting Jonathan Baldwin was a Mistake” in which he says of Baldwin,

"Baldwin was labeled as lazy and as a diva, yet the Chiefs decided to go with him none the less."

Now, lazy divas… Reid’s had some experience with and that may precisely be the reason he’s in Kansas City now. Reid now knows what he does and does not want. In this case, that would be Jonathan Baldwin and players like him.

Another way Jon Baldwin didn’t “fit” with the Chiefs is scheme. Think back about the body types of the wide receivers he had in Philadelphia. Jeremy Maclin, 6-0, 198, quick and fast. DeSean Jackson, 5-10, 175, quick and fast. Even the RBs in Reid’s system like Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy were 5-10 and 5-11 and quick and fast. But one thing all these players could do that Baldwin could not was… CATCH THE FOOTBALL.

If you can’t hold onto the ball, you can not play for Andy Reid. Period.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Umm. Umm. Well. That would be zero.

Lyle Graversen said on Monday morning in his post called, “Who Will Make The Chiefs 53 Man Roster?” just hours before the news came down about the Baldwin-Jenkins trade,

"Baldwin… has looked horrible. I have heard rumors that if KC cuts him that it would actually cost them a bigger cap hit than if they keep him."

I guess that’s the last way Baldwin didn’t fit… and that was within the Chiefs salary cap. Who wants to pay big bucks to a player who doesn’t fit and who just doesn’t fit and … well… you guessed it… who just doesn’t fit.

Nostradamus had this one pegged long before it happened. Well, if he didn’t, he should have.

Because Jon Baldwin just didn’t fit.