Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kindle's injury raises doubts about contract, availability

Sergio Kindle has certainly been a hot topic of conversation but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. After his fall down two flights of stairs in a friend's home in Texas, it isn't a stretch to say that Kindle is actually lucky that he suffered "only" a fractured skull.

Many have speculated about the cause of the freak accident. Some look to Kindle's past for clues and conclude that immaturity is to blame. Kindle has a history of driving under the influence of alcohol and he morphed into a crash test dummy while allegedly texting when driving.

Might this recent costly tumble also be the byproduct of immaturity?

Mack Brown, Kindle's college coach at the University of Texas just yesterday suggested that the accident may have been triggered by narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder marked by daytime sleepiness. Narcoleptics are known to fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while at school or work. It has been known to affect those operating motor vehicles.

As an aside, I used to work with a narcoleptic. Once during a high level dinner meeting with a major customer, my co-worker actually fell asleep with a fork in his mouth. Really!

The Ravens' brass is apparently not too concerned about the narcolepsy and from what I've been told by one source, the team's doctors aren't worried about Kindle long-term. Short-term, the story is a bit different.

Exactly how fractured is Kindle's skull? With the emphasis on the prevention of concussions in the NFL, Kindle's injury and subsequent brain swelling will more than likely prevent him from contributing to the team in a meaningful way for quite some time.

If the Ravens place Kindle on the PUP list to start the season he will be unable to practice with the team for the first 6 weeks. That would relegate him to classroom work and film study.

One of the things you often hear from players and coaches about rookies is the adjustment to the speed of the game. Adding to that challenge is learning the playbook. Until the playbook is mastered, players play slower. They have to slow down, think, process and then react and it inhibits their ability to make impactful plays.

So if Kindle is on PUP, can't practice and can only prepare in the classroom, a time during which narcoleptics often go lights out, just how much can we expect from Kindle in 2010?

And with all this in mind, how does this affect a fair market value contract for the un-signed Kindle?

Word is Ozzie Newsome has consulted with the NFL Management Council for some suggestions on how to deal with Kindle's contract. The team doesn't want to be unfair and invite the reputation of a being a not so player friendly team. At the same time, the club knows that the traditional slotting system doesn't exactly apply in the case of Kindle.

Had this accident happened before the draft, how far might Kindle have tumbled down the draft board?

Would the Ravens have even drafted him?

And since there is no contract shouldn't unconventional signing rules apply?
Reaching out to the league's executives is probably a sincere move by the Ravens front office - one that fosters the spirit of cooperation, reasonability and evenhandedness.

But it also might send a signal to Kindle's handlers to sharpen their collective pencil.

Certainly Kindle's second round status eases the tension a bit. Had he been a first round pick the cooperative spirit would be challenged a bit more with more dollars at stake.

But at the end of the day, no matter how you look at it, Kindle will be an early season disappointment. He will remind team critics of other second round underachievers such as Chris Chester, Dan Cody, Patrick Johnson and DeRon Jenkins.

And if the Ravens fail to generate much of a pass rush, Kindle will remain a hot topic.


Jerry B said...

Lost in the Kindle contract discussion is the fact that his "stock" dropped in the draft because of a knee injury and character issues. Given this latest turn of events, one has to wonder if it makes sense to even sign this guy. For all intents and purposes, his past suggests that he's an accident waiting to happen!

Harryos29 said...

Harry OS 29 Aug 1st
...Well, I think its pretty dumb to fall down 2 flights of steps, after you have just been drafted into the NFL, on one of the better teams!
... Being a doubting Thomas, and that is my middle name, I'm still suspicous of this story. But I was not there, so I must Accept Kindles story. It would have been a lot better for BOTH KINDLE and the Ravens, if he had bunked out with Mark Clayton for a few weeks rather than going back to his HOME town. Remember Sean Taylor of the SKINS, went back to his "HOME TOWN" ..he never came back.
...Here is hoping for a speedy recovery and a log Ravens career.

Chris said...

I hope they do settle on a contract, wouldn't he go back into the draft pool again next year if he goes unsigned, or is that just baseball?? BTW, as far as 2nd round disappointments, I think Chester has graduated from that list as a solid contributor.