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tk13
07-31-2005, 02:14 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/football/nfl/kansas_city_chiefs/12266478.htm

Mouth’s off

Mitchell has put up and shut up in KC, for now

By ELIZABETH MERRILL The Kansas City Star


RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Freddie Mitchell is playing with Dick Vermeil’s grandson. He’s sneaking up behind Stevie outside the lunch line and mussing up his closely cropped blond hair.

Mitchell is clowning with his teammates. He’s standing on his hands, after a long morning practice, and hopping back to his feet.

“FredEx” is nowhere to be found. His reputation traveled 1,100 miles, across the Allegheny Mountains to River Falls. They said FredEx was a team cancer. All mouth, no motor. Vermeil was at a charity golf tournament this summer, and every foursome stopped to weigh in on the signing of Mitchell. Have fun with the mouth of the East, they said.

Vermeil flashed a fatherly smile.

“He hasn’t shot or killed anybody,” Vermeil said. “He doesn’t have a drug problem, he’s not a holdout, he doesn’t pout. He works his butt off.

“What’s it cost? There’s no bonus money involved, no guarantees. So you give him a chance. If we didn’t do that for Kurt Warner, we wouldn’t have had Kurt Warner.”

Mitchell didn’t kill anyone, but his career almost died on the interview table. When Mitchell taunted New England before the Super Bowl, the city of Philadelphia winced. When he spewed criticism toward quarterback Donovan McNabb, the Eagles decided it was time for FredEx to change ZIP codes.

Mitchell says he’s misunderstood. Vermeil says he’s a 26-year-old who’s smart enough not to make the same mistakes twice.

And Kansas City, a club that prides itself on chemistry, says the chatty receiver is worth the small gamble. At least for now.

Through three days of training camp, Mitchell has caught passes, spent extra time with receivers coach Charlie Joiner and kept his mouth zipped. Well, almost. There was the interview session Friday, when Mitchell told the cameras he had nothing to prove, then headed off alone to the indoor practice facility and said that wasn’t entirely true.

“It actually will feel good to shut a lot of people up,” Mitchell said. “Just let them know that hey, he’s a good receiver who’s just been in a bad situation. I felt like it was a bad situation in Philadelphia.

“I think if you ask my team, the actual team on the Philadelphia Eagles, they will say they feel I got a bad rap, too. I just wasn’t given that opportunity. Coach Vermeil and Al Saunders, they’re giving me the opportunity to be that guy.”

In the days before and after Mitchell signed with the Chiefs, a handful of phone calls were made to Philadelphia. Vermeil called coach Andy Reid, who told him he could count on three things — that Mitchell was tough, he’d catch the ball in the crowd, that he’d go to work.

Vermeil said he would’ve signed Mitchell even without the recommendation.

Another call was placed by Chiefs quarterback Trent Green to McNabb. Green, who makes a point to get along with all of his receivers, declined to comment on their conversation.

“You know what? He’s done and said everything the exact opposite of what we heard,” Green said. “He’s come in here with a great attitude, a great work ethic … I mean, our camp is long. That first day when they said we were getting everybody up at 5:45 and you’ve got to be on the field after 7, there were a lot of guys complaining about that. But he’s just taking it all in stride.

“I know it’s early, it’s day three and there’s a long ways to go. But he’s done and said all the right things at this point.”

Mitchell says he didn’t receive a gag order from Vermeil. He just doesn’t want to give the media any more fodder. For six weeks, Mitchell shopped himself around the NFL and heard GMs say the same thing: They didn’t want the distraction.

As the weeks passed and the work didn’t come, the former first-round draft pick wondered whether he was finished at 26.

ESPN analyst Sean Salisbury, a friend of Mitchell’s, said frustrations over playing time, performance, and the intense media pressure helped lead to his undoing in Philadelphia. Playing on a team with Terrell Owens didn’t help, either.

“He was playing with a guy who talked more than him, and he started riding that wave,” Salisbury said.

“Freddie’s not a bad guy. He’s not going to fight anybody in the meeting room, he’s not going to cuss coach Vermeil out. He may say some silly things about defense …

“I think Dick Vermeil will embrace Freddie Mitchell. Will Freddie make the team? Will he be a star? I don’t know. But I do like him. He’s a pretty good football player.”

A player whom Vermeil has been watching since Mitchell’s days at UCLA, when he was the nation’s second-leading receiver, played on a baseball team that made it to the super regionals and seemingly had the world in his outstretched hands.

Mitchell signed with the Chiefs on the second-to-last day of minicamp but stuck around Kansas City the following week to get to know his new teammates. He’s not guaranteeing the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, or even that he’ll be on the roster when the Chiefs open the season on Sept. 11. He’s not even searching for a soundbite.

And that’s progress.

“It’s entertainment at the end of the day,” Mitchell said. “The analysts are going to say whatever they want. I go with it and just relax. As long as I’m not a distraction to my teammates, I’m good.”

htismaqe
07-31-2005, 06:16 AM
“Freddie’s not a bad guy. He’s not going to fight anybody in the meeting room, he’s not going to cuss coach Vermeil out. He may say some silly things about defense …”

Oh, Key Fox is so going to beat his ass...

CHIEF4EVER
07-31-2005, 08:09 AM
Now that I have gotten over my preconceived notions about the "Mouth of the East", I hope he finally 'gets it' and produces like a 1st round pick.

bkkcoh
07-31-2005, 08:11 AM
Now that I have gotten over my preconceived notions about the "Mouth of the East", I hope he finally 'gets it' and produces like a 1st round pick.


That would be a great thing for the Chiefs and Chief fans if this does truly happen.

the Talking Can
07-31-2005, 08:14 AM
Now that I have gotten over my preconceived notions about the "Mouth of the East", I hope he finally 'gets it' and produces like a 1st round pick.

I'd settle for producing like a 2nd round pick.

StcChief
07-31-2005, 08:27 AM
Hope he works out for the Chiefs and has a great year.

It would be like stealing the Iggles 1st round pick.

siberian khatru
07-31-2005, 08:33 AM
In the days before and after Mitchell signed with the Chiefs, a handful of phone calls were made to Philadelphia. Vermeil called coach Andy Reid, who told him he could count on three things — that Mitchell was tough, he’d catch the ball in the crowd, that he’d go to work.

I thought I read he was the biggest pussy in the league.

the Talking Can
07-31-2005, 08:36 AM
I thought I read he was the biggest pussy in the league.

Correct.

"Mr. Alligator Arms"

Phobia
07-31-2005, 08:55 AM
I'd settle for producing like a 2nd round pick.

I dunno how long you've been a Chiefs fan, but when was the last 2nd round pick who was worth a shit in that slot? Heh.

Mile High Mania
07-31-2005, 08:56 AM
Hope he works out for the Chiefs and has a great year.

It would be like stealing the Iggles 1st round pick.

Is it stealing if they threw him away?

Bowser
07-31-2005, 09:34 AM
Hell of a nice fluff piece. Especially after Az Hakim jilted us for the Saints.

And I bet Monty Beisel didn't get htismaqe's joke. :D

htismaqe
07-31-2005, 10:02 AM
Hell of a nice fluff piece. Especially after Az Hakim jilted us for the Saints.

And I bet Monty Beisel didn't get htismaqe's joke. :D

:D

bringbackmarty
07-31-2005, 10:03 AM
"In the days before and after Mitchell signed with the Chiefs, a handful of phone calls were made to Philadelphia. Vermeil called coach Andy Reid, who told him he could count on three things — that Mitchell was tough, he’d catch the ball in the crowd, that he’d go to work.

Vermeil said he would’ve signed Mitchell even without the recommendation.

Another call was placed by Chiefs quarterback Trent Green to McNabb. Green, who makes a point to get along with all of his receivers, declined to comment on their conversation. "



Wonder what that conversation went like. No matter, declining to comment is all we need to know. But who trusts mcnabb, its not like the eagles offense got the to the N.F.C. championship game.

Mcnabb is the dude with the attitude. I can't wait until we play them both in the regular season, and in the superbowl.

Of course, it is only day three of camp, Even he is smart enough to know to shut up until he makes the team.

Bill Lundberg
07-31-2005, 11:28 AM
I dunno how long you've been a Chiefs fan, but when was the last 2nd round pick who was worth a shit in that slot? Heh.


Grunny

Mr. Laz
07-31-2005, 11:40 AM
no signing bonus ... who cares


if he gets mouthy we cut his @ss



i imagine he'll give his best this year ... i'd think twice about giving him a new long term contract though.

Bowser
07-31-2005, 11:54 AM
no signing bonus ... who cares


if he gets mouthy we cut his @ss



i imagine he'll give his best this year ... i'd think twice about giving him a new long term contract though.

Let him have a 50 catch 850 yard 6 TD season, then we'll give him a signing bonus.

Mr. Laz
07-31-2005, 12:33 PM
Let him have a 50 catch 850 yard 6 TD season, then we'll give him a signing bonus.
as long as we keep him on a high incentive type contract


don't trust him yet

whoman69
07-31-2005, 02:08 PM
I have a problem with his mouth. I have a bigger problem with his lack of performance.

milkman
07-31-2005, 02:21 PM
I have a problem with his mouth. I have a bigger problem with his lack of performance.

Ditto.

However, it would be nice, in this case, like Kennison before him, if one man's thrash became another man's treasure.

Is it stealing if they threw him away?

CHIEF4EVER
07-31-2005, 02:32 PM
I now look at it this way: We got him on the cheap. If he screws up/mouths off/fails to perform to a high level his bottom gets 86ed and no harm done to us. If he comes out catching everything in sight we got a heckuva deal.