EARTH CITY MO - JULY 31: James Butler #37 and Justin King #31 both of the St. Louis Rams practice defensive drills during training camp at the Russell Athletic Training Facility on July 31 2010 in Earth City Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
In all fairness to Justin King, I have never seen him play and I'm sure he's a nice guy. I don't know of any arrests or character infractions. I haven't heard anything to suggest he's a bad person, teammate, or ambassador of the game. He played his college ball in the Big Ten (Penn State), and he had an impressive showing at the 2008 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, notching a rather remarkable 4.31 40 time. That was the fastest time for a defensive back in the draft that year, and was second only to Chris Johnson's now-legendary 4.24 40.
Justin King went in the 4th round of the '08 draft to the Rams. The scouting report on him at that time was that he was a "top notch CB prospect... an excellent corner, with unlimited potential."
Five years later, King was allowed to leave St. Louis, and if you ask their fans what they think of King, words like "excellent" and "top notch" are replaced with phrases like "sucks rocks" and "you're screwed."
FYI: The Colts signed King today, adding him to the roster just prior to their mandatory minicamp next week. The roster spot was made available after the Colts parted ways with center Jake Kirkpatrick earlier this week. King is the third veteran corner the Colts have added to their roster since the 2012 NFL Draft concluded in April, a draft that saw them select eight offensive players out of ten picks. They've reportedly been trying to trade for Mike Jenkins as well.
Again, in fairness to King, he deserves a chance to prove himself with a new team. It's not like the St. Louis Rams organization has been a model of efficiency or excellence since King was drafted in '08. So, for me, I reserve judgment.
However, if fan reaction can provide a gauge for just how bad a player performed in his former city, Rams fans are not making me feel comfortable about this signing. When the Colts brought King in a few weeks ago for a workout, Rams fans at Turf Show Times tweeted me that King was about as terrible a corner as one can be in the NFL.
Worse than Tim Jennings?* I asked. Yes, Mr. Wells, they answered. Worse.
So, when I tweeted out earlier today that, with the Colts signing King, Rams fans were now laughing at us, TST writer Joe McTee decided to pack a few more arsenic-laced grains of salt into the wound:
@StampedeBlue So are any WRs in yalls division— Joe McAtee (@3k_) June 8, 2012
That's cold, my brother. Cold.
* The reference to Jennings is obviously a trick question because, as many of you know, Jennings went from being a mostly bad corner in Indianapolis to being a pretty good one in Chicago. We hope for the same sort of transformation with Justin King.