Just so certain people don't use the old cop out that Mike Chappell misquoted, misrepresented, or misinterpreted the recent negative comments Anthony Gonzalez made about the Colts, Mike went on Dan Dakich's show and made it clear that Gonzo is most certainly not happy, and the reasons are that the team did not fulfill a promise made to him that he would be able to compete for his old job.
Dan Dakich: Is Gonzalez, is he upset about this? Is this a problem?
Mike Chappell: Yeah. I tried to be very careful in how I phrased-
Dan Dakich: Yeah, I can tell.
Mike Chappell: Because, again, I even asked him "Does [inaudible] frustrate you?" And he says "Well..." and he wouldn't really go there. But, it's clear that, from what he didn't say, promises were made in the off-season about how the opportunity he would have to compete for the job, and the only way I can read into it is he doesn't think he was given the fair shot he was promised. Is he upset? I don't know. This isn't DEFCON-5. He's clearly not 100% happy with how things panned out because basically he lost his job by injury, if you want to read into it.
Chappell went on to make the key observation that, in training camp and preseason, there was no competition to speak of between Pierre Garcon and Gonzo. Garcon did not play much in pre-season. So, if Gonzo was promised by the Colts that he would have an opportunity to compete for his old starting job (and Chappell made it clear that is was the starting job Gonzo wanted, not the slot receiver position) then it seems Gonzo's feelings of 'betrayal' are justified.
What this boils down to is who is fudging the truth? Is Gonzo lying about the Colts promising him a shot? Or, did the Colts simply give Gonzo a false promise?
After the jump, more details from Chappell (who, by the way, did an outstanding job on this story)...
You have to keep in mind, [Gonzalez] is a very thoughtful, I won't say 'calculating,' but he really thinks about what he's saying. He doesn't just blow off. So, the fact that he stuck around and talked to me and talked to a couple of us, it's clear he wanted to get something off his chest. He wasn't blasting the management as players have been known to do. He just saying, Yeah, promises were made. I was promised I would have a chance to work for the starting job. And I tried to get him to say, And promises weren't kept. And he wouldn't go there, but he clearly implied that.
It's interesting that Chappell states Gonzo was not blasting 'management,' which is important because 'management' is different than the coaching staff. So, for me, the shots are likely not at Bill Polian, but at Jim Caldwell. It seems logical to suggest that Gonzo is indeed blasting the coach and is, essentially, calling Caldwell a liar.
When you promise something, and then don't follow through with it, what does that make you? Certainly, terms like 'honest' and 'truthful' don't some to mind.
But, since Gonzo did not out-and-out call his head coach a dishonest person, we won't say he did. We'll just say that we don't think Gonzo feels warm and fuzzy at the thought of Jim Caldwell. Chappell also made it clear that Gonzo is most certainly not confident about returning punts. I don't recall him doing any punt returning in preseason, and for a guy coming off a major knee injury, returning punts does not sound like a very healthy way to work the player back into the team fold.
It will be interesting to see how this thing plays out. Gonzo seems to feel betrayed. He feels he did not get a fair shake. I know many of you around here felt he should have been given that opportunity, and I agree with you. During the days of Tony Dungy, we saw a lot of open competition. With this coaching staff, the rules seem different. The Colts like using silly catch phrases like 'The cream rises to the crop" and "We put them in the pot, stir them up, and see what happens." The problem is, their actions do not seem to back up those phrases.