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The Case of Childress v. Belichick

Yesterday, we reported that the Vikings claimed TE Garrett Mills off of waivers from the New England Patriots.  Ordinarily, this really wouldn't be a major story, nor would it really have the potential to become one.  The Pats were apparently hoping that Mills would sneak through waivers so that he could be added to their practice squad, much like the Vikings were hoping would happen with Tyler Thigpen.  In both cases, the team releasing the player was unsuccessful (Thigpen was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs).

However, the events that allegedly led up to the Vikings claiming Mills could potentially be the subject of some contention, as Pro Football Talk is saying in one of their updates today.

Now, keep in mind that this is allegedly what happened, based on reports from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  However, I have no real reason to believe that Brad Childress would make something like that up, so I'm erring on his site.  (Yes, my blind homerism helps guide my thought process on this as well. . .I'll cop to that.)

After the final cutdown lists were released on Saturday, word apparently got back to Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick that the Vikings were interested in claiming Mills, New England's fourth-round selection in the 2006 Draft out of the University of Tulsa.  Belichick was displeased by this development.  However, rather than simply hoping that the Vikings wouldn't claim him and he'd make it to the New England practice squad as intended, Belichick apparently took it a step farther.

He picked up the phone, called Brad Childress, and either asked or demanded (dependent upon your viewpoint, I guess) that the Vikings not claim Mills through the waiver process.  But what would the repercussions for disobedience be?  If the Vikings DID put a claim on Mills, the Patriots would. . .claim a player that the Vikings cut the day before.

I'm just trying to picture this conversation in my mind. . .I think it would go something like this:

Childress:  Minnesota Vikings, Coach Childress speaking, how can I help you?
Belichick:  Hello, Brad. . .it's Bill Belichick calling from Foxboro.  How's it going?
Childress:  Can't complain too much. . .what can I do for you, Bill?
Belichick:  Well, I've been told that you folks in Minnesota are interested in claiming one of our guys that we want to put on our practice squad.
Childesss:  There's certainly a strong possibility of that happening, yes.
Belichick:  Well, we weren't really expecting anyone to claim Garrett Mills.

dramatic chord

Childress:  NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO one expects the Vikings to claim Garrett Mills!
Belichick:  What?
Childress:  Huh?
Belichick:  Never mind. . .anyway, we'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't put your claim on him.
Childress:  Well, we really like the kid a lot, so I think we're going to put the claim in anyway.
Belichick:  I can't let you do that, Dave.
Childress:  Brad
Belichick:  Right, sorry. . .well, let me just say that if you DO put your claim in on Mills, we'll have to retaliate by. . .claiming. . .a player. . .a player that you just cut!  Yeah!  That ought to show you!

thunder clap

Childress:  Okay, Bill, that's fine. . .I have to get going. . .the Family Channel is showing a Major Dad marathon.  I love that show.  Not sure why, really.  Talk to you later.

(Have I mentioned lately that I love this job?  Because I do.)

But seriously, where I come from, we call what Coach Belichick allegedly did "collusion."  Now, I doubt that the NFL would go after a golden boy like Belichick, but they could at least humor us by looking into it or something.  Don't get me wrong. . .they won't.  But they should.

One of the other possible repercussions of this concerns Coach Childress and, more specifically, his ability to find future employment should the Vikings relieve him of his duties in the near future.  Apparently, PFT is under the impression that what Childress did is akin to not kissing the Don's ring at a mafia get-together, and that Belichick could potentially talk to some people to keep Childress from getting his next job.

Seriously.  I'm not making that up.  Apparently, Belichick allegedly attempted to control roster moves for a team other than his own, and Brad Childress is the one that's going to suffer repercussions as a result?

Did I fall through the wormhole into some sort of bizarro world or something?  Can someone pass me the red pill, please?

I say kudos to Brad Childress if the events took place as he says they did.  Coaches and front office people should worry about their own damn teams and not what everyone else may or may not do.  If Belichick wanted Garrett Mills on his roster so badly, he should have found a way to keep him around.  Period.