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Old 12-19-2008, 11:58 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Teicher: Chiefs’ front-office fixture Thum getting chance to step out of the shadows


Chiefs’ front-office fixture Thum getting chance to step out of the shadows

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

In 2001, when the Chiefs were faced with a severe salary-cap overage, they were saved from disaster only by some nifty, round-the-clock work from their behind-the-scenes financial guru.

Denny Thum, a longtime vice president and aide to Carl Peterson, calmly and diligently reworked one player contract after another until the crisis was under control and the Chiefs were in compliance with NFL salary-cap rules.

It was not the only time they were saved by Thum. Always, though, it happened under the cloak of darkness, always away from the spotlight.

Thum, 57, is about to go big-time. He will become the Chiefs’ interim president/general manager when the Peterson era expires after the Dec. 28 final regular-season game at Cincinnati.

The Chiefs will soon hire a general manager to run the football operation, but Thum (pronounced Thoom) is a strong candidate to remain as president with responsibilities for the business functions.

“That would probably be something that’s way overdue,” said agent Jonathan Feinsod, who has negotiated many player contracts with Thum. “He’s been groomed so well and seen so much and is completely ready. Too many people get moved into these positions who aren’t nearly as qualified as Denny Thum.”

Thum could have moved on, most notably in 2000 when he interviewed to be general manager for New Orleans. Thum said he was offered the job and declined, something the Saints denied.

Thum wouldn’t answer questions for this story. But, regardless of what happened with the Saints, he’s been by all accounts content with the Chiefs — and content behind the scenes.

“Obviously, he loves the Chiefs,” quarterback Damon Huard said. “He’s been here 35 years, and I know there have been times when he could have moved on. That tells me he’s passionate about this place.”

A 1974 graduate of Rockhurst College, Thum started with the Chiefs that same year as an accountant. In his 35 seasons, he is the only member of the front office to work with every one of the team’s head coaches, from Hank Stram to Herm Edwards.

Along the way, he earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s best salary-cap managers and contract negotiators.

“I’ve had people from other teams tell me they had people who would call Denny and ask Denny how to crunch the numbers better, how to work around the cap, how to deal with cash-flow issues,” said Ken Harris, agent for former Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen. “People understand that he knows what he’s doing.

“He’s a very good numbers cruncher. He is a very good manager of cash-flow and funding issues. The Chiefs may not find a better guy to run the business part of their operation. Despite differences Jared and I may have had with Denny, I take my hat off to him from the standpoint the guy knows how to handle the cap.”

Because he serves as his own agent and negotiates his own contracts, guard Brian Waters is one of the few Chiefs players to have been across the bargaining table from Thum.

“I’ve been able to sit down with Denny and with Carl, and there are stark differences between the two,” Waters said. “Carl is emotional in the way he deals with a guy. Denny’s not. He plays it by the book. He’s a professional negotiator. He’s going to start low and work his way up. He’s very patient. He’s never a guy where you feel like emotions are involved. It’s all business with him.”

But Waters wasn’t suggesting Thum is free with the Chiefs’ money

“He’s a staunch negotiator,” he said. “He’s a money guy and knows finances, knows the cap. It’s just that there’s never anything personal. He’s a nice guy, a genuinely nice guy. I’ve never had any bad conversations or bad dealings, and nothing has ever come off in a negative way. I can’t say that about everybody, even Carl. He could be tough in certain areas and come off that way. Denny has never come off that way.”

Those rough Peterson edges led Allen to demand the Chiefs trade him, which they eventually did to Minnesota. Allen reached a point of no return with the Chiefs after, he said, Peterson reneged on a promise to sign Allen to a lucrative, long-term contract.

He was also furious when Peterson labeled him as a player at risk because of his two DUIs.

Harris suggested Allen would never have gone so far as to demand a trade if Thum had been in charge.

“There were times when I would have a conversation with Denny and there were intimations that not everyone agreed with the statement coming from the top,” Harris said. “So the indications to me are that he’s not going to be a lot like Carl Peterson.

“It’s probably going to be a little of both for Denny. When you work for that GM long enough, certainly you pick up some of the business angles. But if you don’t have someone giving you marching orders, you’ll probably be yourself more than you were before.

“The Chiefs would be smart to hire him permanently. If he doesn’t get that job, somebody will snap him up immediately.”
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:12 AM   #2
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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Great read. Thanks TW.

Just goes as another big **** YOU to Carl.
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:19 AM   #3
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THOOM THOOM THOOM

yeah, thoom thoom thoom....

thoom thoom thoom, yeah thoom thoom thoom.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:31 AM   #4
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It appears that Carl has burned every bridge in KC.
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:22 AM   #5
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Totally awesome. Sounds like Denny has earned respect from within and without; give the guy the key to the CEO shitter.
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:46 AM   #6
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Old 12-20-2008, 04:39 AM   #7
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Kansas City is going to be looking back in 5 years wondering why in the hell Peterson was allowed to stay as long as he was.

Kansas City, your biggest ball and chain in the world of professional sports has just been shown the door.

Con-fuggin'-gradulations. It's about time.
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Old 12-20-2008, 05:01 AM   #8
Darth CarlSatan Darth CarlSatan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter View Post
Kansas City is going to be looking back in 5 years wondering why in the hell Peterson was allowed to stay as long as he was.

Kansas City, your biggest ball and chain in the world of professional sports has just been shown the door.

Con-fuggin'-gradulations. It's about time.
As an NFC aficionado recently said to me in a conversation about the NFL; "The NFL is much more interesting when the Chiefs are on fire".

Amen.
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Old 12-20-2008, 06:06 AM
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Old 12-20-2008, 06:07 AM   #9
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Good, I hope he gets President and the first thing the new GM does is say:

"And Herm Edwards...yea he's gone. Like, now."
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Old 12-20-2008, 07:19 AM   #10
whoman69 whoman69 is offline
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Good, I hope he gets President and the first thing the new GM does is say:

"And Herm Edwards...yea he's gone. Like, now."
That might be his suggestion, but it would have to be the GM's call. Our GM has to come from outside the org, and it can't be Bradway. We need someone with a fresh eye and a history of scouting and personnel.

BTW, any truth to the rumors that CP will still be around to oversee construction on the stadium?
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:45 AM   #11
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I think this clears up the Jared Allen fiasco-wow Carl is a dumb ****.
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Old 12-20-2008, 08:46 AM   #12
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:28 AM   #13
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denny is cool...we were waiting in the terminal to get on the plane back from the SB, and he came up and asked where my clown suit was...and then introduced himself and thanked me for wearing the funny red nose.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:32 AM   #14
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I think this clears up the Jared Allen fiasco-wow Carl is a dumb ****.
butthurt much
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:36 AM   #15
BigChiefFan BigChiefFan is offline
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butthurt much
No, I love it when we give our best D player away for one solid LT and a bunch of role-players.
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