Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chiefs’ Edwards would take hard line

March 22, 2007


If Herm Edwards ran the NFL, the hammer would come down hard on players who get in trouble off the field.

"There needs to be a hard line, in my opinion," the Kansas City coach said. "You can't throw softballs."

In a wide-ranging discussion with reporters on many topics, Edwards said he would support whatever punishment policy the league might implement in upcoming discussions on off-the-field behavior problems.

But he also believes mere "wrist-slapping" fines are not the answer.

"I've never been a big proponent of fining players. Players, last time I checked, if they don't get to play, they understand that," he said. "If they don't get to play, that's what they understand. You don't dress. You don't play. Go home. You sit there and you watch.

"I just think eventually that's what it has to come to. I know that's hard."

Suspending top players would have even greater effect, he figures.

"(A player) needs to know if he can't conduct himself in the right way, then he's not going to play. That's where your leadership on your football team needs to come in, too. When you act like that, you don't play, and it hurts the team. If you get injured, that's one thing. But if you're a healthy guy and you're at home watching TV, then you can't even come on the trip.

"Now, that's just me talking. I don't know what we're going to do. But eventually it's going to get to that. It's going to have to because that's the only thing they understand. They don't understand anything else."

Edwards also took sharp exception to anyone who says highly paid, high profile athletes should not be expected to be role models.

"When you're a professional, you have an obligation to conduct yourself in a manner that's respectable to your organization and the people you work for," he said. "I don't care who you are. I don't care what job it is. I'm just saying a professional football player now.

"I try to live my life that way. Is it hard? Yeah. But so what? It should be hard. That's why you're a professional."

Edwards also said defensive tackle Alfonso Boone, who has agreed to terms of a four-year contract, would give the Chiefs valuable help in rushing the passer.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Boone played in 12 games, including four starts, for Chicago last year. He had 35 tackles and two sacks. Boone began his college career at Central State in Wilberforce, Ohio, but transferred to Mount San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, Calif., after Central State dropped its football program.

"He's a pretty good pass rusher," Edwards said. "He only played really junior college, one college semester and then sat out two years and went to junior college, and then went into professional football."

Boone also has the benefit of having played in a system that's similar to Kansas City's.

"His age is 31. But he's really not played that long," Edwards said. "He's a big, powerful guy. He can rush the passer inside, which I think is critical for us. It's critical that we get some push inside. That will allow us to get more sacks. I think we've got two pretty good ends."

Edwards also said he had not heard from right guard Will Shields, the perennial Pro Bowler who is contemplating retirement. He said it's not critical to get a decision before the draft next month.

"That won't matter at all. If there's a good guard out there, we'll draft him regardless."


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