Milham Minutes: Rashee Rice's 2024 riddle remains unsolved for the Chiefs

Welcome to the debut of Milham Minutes here at Arrowhead Addict.
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Welcome to the debut of Milham Minutes here at Arrowhead Addict. Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger was, and remains, a huge inspiration for me. I reached out to him for his blessing on this column, and I hope it is half as good as his.

The pandemic's initial wave gave birth to many new hobbies or side hustles when I started writing. Being in the Navy, they had some extreme rules at the time, limiting me and thousands of others to work or home. That created a lot of time on my hands, while Kansas City Chiefs fans wondered about the 2020 season's future.

It all feels like a lifetime ago now. The highlights in front of sparse crowds or vacant stadiums serve as a stark reminder of how sports survived that first calendar year of COVID-19. Unlike professional sports, most of those hobbies did not endure beyond that first year. The sourdough bread starters grew dormant, the camping supplies now gather dust in the corner, or the Peleton bike now serves as a coat rack.

This is completely fine, though. Interests change over time, and returning to normal life took away all that spare time we had.

As for me, I spend my spare time behind an RGB keyboard, enjoying a sweet monitor setup (thanks Honey), with 2012 Kansas City Royals replays playing in the background. That reminds me of a time before not only that team won pennants, but the Chiefs did the same. So much has changed since Big Red came to town.

Andy Reid reminded Kansas City what a winning culture felt like. Big Red fostered that culture and rebuilt a struggling team into the foundation of the AFC. Every other team knows that all roads to the Super Bowl run through Arrowhead. The gleaming new Lombardi Trophies solidify this fact. Without Andy Reid leading the way, this reality would seem improbable.

A new improbability awaits in the upcoming 2024 season. Like it or not, wide receiver Rashee Rice will not appear in all 17 games. No, he isn't predestined for some injury or mysterious malady. Nay, a suspension to begin this season feels like a sure thing.

The Chiefs cannot shake Rashee Rice's blunders

The suspension's length remains in question, but Rashee Rice's absence will undoubtedly be felt. He was Kansas City's top wideout as a rookie with 79 catches, 938 yards, and a team-leading 7 touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes' proven options are already thin, but without Rice, they are thinner than Chipotle's portions.

An investigation of Rice punching a photographer and outstanding lawsuits demanding millions in damages are just some of the current off-field issues for Rice. The SMU alum had character concerns entering the 2023 draft, and his offseason conduct saw those fears realized. The NFL's personal conduct policy is a fickle thing, one that Rice remains subject to.

Chiefs fans can talk about taking the high road all they want, but winning makes any fan base more affable to red flags. Tyreek Hill, both ahead of the draft and well into his Kansas City tenure, is a prime example. No one is talking about offensive linemen Wanya Morris and Chukwuebuka Godrick being arrested anymore. But this Rice situation is a whole different monster, with two separate troubling happenings this offseason alone.

Rice is working on putting the negative behind him, including handing out food and water to those in need. His latest offseason appearance was co-hosting a youth football camp at Central High School in Kansas City. Several Chiefs players made the event happen, but Rice breaking his silence stole the show.

"I've learned so much from [the offseason troubles]," Rice said, according to Fox 4 Kansas City's PJ Green. "All I can do is mature and continue to grow from that. This is a step in a better direction for me… Accidents and stuff like that happen, but all you can do is move forward and walk around being the same person, try to be positive so that everybody can feel your love and your great energy."

It was a quick media availability for Rice. With kids and parents milling in the background, he closed out the questions by adding, "I wouldn't necessarily say make mistakes," Rice said. "In order to learn in life, you have to make some sort of mistake." Some sort of mistake. Sort of.

I get it; he is still facing charges. Rice is going to have some vague answers to questions regarding his offseason. The legal process can tie up your life and your tongue. Rice isn't going to convey a guilty plea to the Kansas City media. Yet, this was the first time the public had heard Rice speak about his recent troubles.

Rice could have taken the conventional route, saying he was leaving that up to lawyers and that he wanted to focus on football. Or he could have cited the setting, saying he wanted to be a positive influence on football's future and not talk about it. Instead, Rice opted for something worse. He opted for indifference.

Dallas police alleged Rice was racing another vehicle at high speeds and was traveling as fast as 119 mph shortly before the crash. He hasn't said a peep about those injured, mentally scarred, or otherwise impacted by, allegedly, his actions. Saying that he will "walk around being the same person" doesn't sound like an empathetic person to me. Rice's legal team or those close to him need to remind him that he can avoid implicating himself while still showing compassion.

Is this a byproduct of football's dog days of summer? Probably so. Training camp battles and remaining acquisitions are more fun to talk about. But there isn't any of that without players. We love watching players celebrate at ring ceremonies or ham it up with the President of the United States because they are still people. To err is human, and Rice's silence and ineffective opening response certainly fit that bill.

My mother, a special ed teacher in Kansas until the day she passed, had a simple saying: “Live. Learn. Do better.” Rice has certainly completed the first part of that trifecta. His recent statement shows he still has a ways to go in learning and ultimately doing better.

Chiefs Recall: Stephone Paige's record-breaking day

As a younger Chiefs fan, looking back at older games is both a slog and exciting. Finding said game footage is easier said than done, but I recently managed to rewatch Stephone Paige's performance against the San Diego Chargers in Week 16 of the 1985 season.

Boy, oh boy, was that a crazy game to watch?

The two teams combined for 72 points with only four points separating the victor from the loser. No matter the outcome, the Chiefs wide receiver hauled in eight passes for 309 yards, which is by far the Kansas City single-game record.

Averaging 39.6 yards per catch is ridiculous, but doing so with Todd Blackledge at quarterback is even more impressive.

If you have another old game I should rewatch, let me know via email!

Read of the Week: A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley

If you aren't reading Arrowhead Addict, then an old-fashioned book is another good way to go. I tend to dive into baseball books during the MLB season, but I needed something new. Enter the 1968 novel A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley.

It's not your typical memoir—instead, it's a blend of autobiography, fiction, and social commentary. The book delves into Exley's life, particularly his struggles with alcoholism, mental health issues, and his obsession with football and celebrity culture. It's known for its introspective and sometimes darkly humorous look at the author's experiences and his complex relationships.

Some people might find it a bit intense, but I see it as a brutally honest reflection on personal struggles and American society. If you're into deep dives into the human psyche, unconventional storytelling, and a touch of Americana, it's worth checking out!