Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 7/29/12
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Because what else are you going to do? Play "Angry Birds" until your thumbs bleed? Learn macram? Audition for "Dancing With The Stars?" Make celebrity cameos on Rob Gronkowski's new reality show? Come to camp, Dwayne Bowe. Come on, man. This is starting to get silly. Look, we get it. You were itching for a long-term deal. Or maybe a ticket out of town. Whatever. Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli held all the cards here, and he played them like a champ. So out came the franchise tag, and a 1-year tender for this fall worth a reported 9.5 million. And yeah, even if you roll up the kind of numbers that'd put Megatron to shame, they might still slap you with the franchise tag again next spring -- just because they can. Is it ideal? No. But it's also projected as a payout of 11.4 million for 2013. If that qualifies as disrespect, we should all be so unjustly overlooked. We know, we know. St. Joseph in August can come off a bit like Paris Hilton: Hot and bland. But dude, everybody's here. Dontari Poe's here. All the key pieces, last time we checked. So why should you join the party? Because if you show up late and have a terrible year, you're not exactly enhancing your case for big money. Or a long-term deal in 2013. In Kansas City or anyplace else. Because Jon Baldwin seems hellbent on making a statement. How intense is this cat? The second-year wideout's been posting videos on his Twitter account of him working out in the middle of the night. There he goes, running under the cover of darkness, chanting like a man possessed. "I'm super motivated," Baldwin said shortly after practices got underway. "There's always motivation to keep working hard and not get complacent and get stuck in being one way. And I just want to get better every day." The kid's punch-up with Thomas Jones a year ago feels more like a decade. Baldwin made arguably the sweetest grab of the first full day of camp, taking a crossing pattern, shifting gears, and turning it into a big-gainer. Why should you suck it up? Because Matt Cassel needs you. Did you see the Home Run Derby during All-Star Week at Kauffman Stadium earlier this month? More importantly, did you hear it? Here's this goofy, feel-good event, an exhibition of pure fluff, and when the Chiefs quarterback was introduced to the home crowd, he was booed. Lustily. Repeatedly. It was cringe-worthy. "I heard 'CHIEEEEFS,' I didn't hear any booing," Cassel said the other day. "That's what I heard, right?" Uhhhh, no. "You know, the thing that I love about our fans (is) they're passionate," Cassel said. "They let you know how they feel one way or another. And I can respect that." Respecting it is one thing. Liking it is another. Because according the web site ProFootballFocus.com, you've dropped 11.5 percent of the balls thrown your way over the past three years -- the ninth-worst percentage in the NFL among players who've seen 125 or more catchable attempts since 2009. Timing? Critical. Reps? Critical. The better rapport you have with the No. 1 signal-caller, the smoother the offense flows. It's about one mind. One heartbeat. If Peyton Manning were here, he'd roll onto your front porch, grab you by the ear like an irritated grandma, and drag your behind back to St. Joe. Standing up the team means you don't mind standing up Cassel, either. And he needs all the friends he can get right about now. Why should you bury the hatchet? Because as the curtain goes up, all the ingredients are in place to produce something special out on Arrowhead Drive. Parity tends to turn the NFL into a wacky crapshoot, but the Chiefs, in theory, seem better-positioned than most to handle the grind. There's depth on both lines, in the backfield, and at wide receiver. If safety Eric Berry has his old wheels back and Poe proves to have half a pulse at nose tackle, this could be a top 10 defense. The biggest question mark is under center -- and specifically, the health of the passing game. It's healthier when you're here. Because when people refer to you as another Larry Johnson, it's not meant to be a compliment. You remember 2007, right? Johnson, then one of the premier ballcarriers in the NFL, held out of Kansas City's training camp until the third week in August. After rolling for 1,789 yards the year before, Johnson's '07 campaign got cut short midway through the season because of a foot injury. Because those who cannot remember the past are sometimes condemned to repeat it. "I have not spoken with him or anything like that," coach Romeo Crennel said when the conversation turned to your holdout. "So we're going to try to get the guys better who are here, and try to make those guys better and go forward from that aspect." Because they're going to learn to live without you. And sooner rather than later, you feel? You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com
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