For the Baltimore Ravens, it really paid off to wait.
But for second-round pick Sergio Kindle, his latest gaff is going to cost him.
Kindle, who was the Ravens first draft choice this year when they selected him with 43rd pick back in April, is the lone Raven rookie to not sign with the team.
And after falling down two flights of stairs in his Austin home on Sunday– Thursday-days before the rookies report to Westmisnter-Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told the media yesterday at the Best Western in Westminster that Kindle would be missing all of the team’s training camp this year with a fractured skull.
“We’re going to be careful with that,” Harbaugh said. “You’re talking about a head injury, playing football. That’s something we’re not going to be in a hurry to mess with.”
The gaffs continue for Kindle, who in the summer of 2007 was arrested for a DUI incident and missed the first three games for the Texas Longhorns as part of a suspension. In 2009, he crashed his car into a brick apartment building and drove away from the scene. He reportedly was texting at the wheel.
Kindle is reportedly stable in Austin despite swelling in his head. But this is sour news after the Ravens appeared to be ready to have all their draft picks in camp ready to go with fellow second-round pick Terrence Cody signing his deal yesterday.
But in a way, the Ravens may have luck on their side as no deal with Kindle was close, and with Kindle going to be out for quite some time and hurting himself on his own accord, the Ravens don’t owe him anything.
Longtime agent Ralph Cindrich, who was known as one of the top player agents in the business and recently represented the likes of quarterback Troy Smith, spent a few minutes with Drew Forrester this morning discussing the Ravens’ and Kindle’s situation.
And Cindrich backed that statement up. The Ravens aren’t on the hook for anything.
“Clearly they don’t have any obligation,” he said. “His obligation is to come in, pass a physical, pass the urine test and all the other tests, and sign a contract. And until he does that, there is no obligation on the part of the Ravens.”
Cindrich has been in the sports representation business for over 30 years. He is widely regarded as one of the top NFL agents in the business, and has represented players from the likes of Mark May, Herschel Walker, Wil Wolford, Gary Clark, Jeff Saturday, and even Mike Flynn and Troy Smith locally.
The Ravens hold all the bargaining chips now.
“At some point when he comes back in, they can do a pro-ration of his signing bonus if they feel like he’s healthy and will be able to play and do some things that way, but its on the player right now.”
In the NFL, most teams pay their players based on slot amounts based on where their fellow draftees were selected before or behind them. The Ravens, along with the rest of the NFL, usually play the waiting game in this area and wait for the chips to fall, which was one of the reasons why Kindle’s deal remained on the table and in discussion until now.
And there could have been even more issues with Kindle considering the Ravens had no first-round pick, and Kindle was their top draft choice. And some agents out there don’t like the slotting money anyway and try to work out of it to get the most for their player.
But now, the Ravens won’t even have to worry about any of that. Kindle and his agents will probably have to eat humble pie when they finally do get back to the bargaining table.
“I doubt whether they would pay him the slot amount. It would be questionable whether they would go that far to pay him that amount of money. It would be more on a earn-out basis for performance.”
In other words, Cindrich said he would tell his player that it’s all on him now to get himself back on the Ravens’ good side.
“This is unfortunate. Life has a lot of tough breaks. This is one of them. Dummy up here. We’re going to have to come in, you’re going to have to take less, you’re going to have to earn it out more. You’ll be a better man for it,” Cindrich told Forrester what he would tell his client.
Cindrich said he has been in this situation numerous times with players over the years. He just hopes that the kid has been raised in the right way to prepare them for this process.
“You hold true that mommy had a talk with them long before that,” Cindrich said. “You do need to have that talk in Januray. With social media and all the rest, guys can’t be out there and just be flipping.”
And for the people out there who are criticizing the team for treating an injured player as a piece of property as opposed to a person, Cindrich said Kindle brought this on himself and every other team in the league would act the same.
“That’s the way most teams would handle it. As far as someone taking shots at the Ravens for not coming up and paying what market value would be right now, that would be unfair. Generally, you have to take care of yourself. You have insurance as a general rule.”
The Ravens are also now going to have to focus on what kind of player the Ravens are going to get now as well. Are they going to get the Kindle with all the potential in the world when he returns, or one that continues to be damaged goods?
“It’s very difficult to expect the club to come in and pay market value with the guy. You don’t know if he’s going to play at the same level and the same matter. You don’t know if you sign him, he’s going to have headaches. You could do the signing bonus on a roster bonus type basis. He’ll still have to get in shape. There are a lot of issues with something like this.”
Cindrich has dealt with the Ravens before when he represented backup quarterback Troy Smith. In the off-season, Smith had requested to be traded so that he could pursue being a starter.
Cindrich told The Canton Repository that Smith “would crawl from Baltimore right now to be able to play in Cleveland.”
Smith may not have wanted that desire to go public, and he could have seen Cindrich as responsible, causing him to switch his representation to Neil Cornrich several weeks later.
Cindrich still represents several NFL players including Giants wide receiver Steve Smith, Colts center Jeff Saturday, Cardinals running back Chris “Beanie” Wells, and Steelers linebacker James Farrior.
And he still has a ton of respect for both Smith and the Ravens organization.
“I really like Troy. He’s a heck of a person and player. Obviously in that situation, he did want out. And there was a little thing that went on with the company I represent, and the manager that he has. And maybe more…maybe it went to the actual things that went on with the Ravens. But I’d sure like to see him get a shot to be able to compete.”
But Cindrich knows that this is Joe Flacco’s team now.
“It’s not going to happen there at Baltimore, and for good reason. You’ve got a young guy in there. And the pickup that you have is a guy who looks like the young guy. When you have guys like that, Troy might be a nice change-up, but is he your everyday guy that you can put in there if you starter goes down? I dont know.”
And he holds the Ravens in the same respect.
“There are some brilliant people in that organization football-wise. They do a good job. Its one of the best run franchises out there. I don’t have to tell you that. If you dont know that, you should. And all the fans should, because its consistenly up there.”