He Won’t Be Quiet Sunday … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

The voice mail message was to the point.

“BG, this is BP. See me after the game. I hope I have plenty to say then. I’m trying to keep a low profile. (Secondary coach David Gibbs) Gibby is on me. You know how that goes.”

Bernard Pollard has been a reluctant talker this week. Much like Ryan Lilja was last week when he returned to Indianapolis to play his former team, Pollard has not had much to say this week about his former team and the situation that sent him to the waiver wire last September and ultimately landed him in Houston.

“It’s not personal at all,” Pollard told a reporter from the Houston Chronicle this week. “It’s not about any individual. Obviously, it’s a big game. I was there before — things happen. But it doesn’t matter. This is another team we have to compete against.”

You can hear Pollard biting his tongue throughout that comment. There’s a lot that Pollard could say, probably wants to say about his experience last year in the off-season and pre-season with the new Chiefs regime. There’s no question there will be some trash talking from him on Sunday, because that’s what B.P. has always done. He loves to chatter and loves when he finds an 0pponent who reacts to it. At least in this game, he will go facemask-to-facemask because that’s what he does.

Pollard has talked about his departure from the Chiefs in the past. Some of it was done publicly, a lot was privately. Early this year, he said he was not treated with respect and that the Chiefs were badmouthing him around the league after he was released. He talked about how during this past off-season he spent time pondering what had happened in Kansas City and felt there were things he could have done better.  He allowed that he had moved on.

I think I have a pretty good idea of why things happened the way they did for him with new Chiefs coaching staff. It’s a shame that it happened all, because while he said he had his moments with Todd Haley, it was really Clancy Pendergast who clashed with Pollard. Pendergast was the team’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach.  He’s not around anymore.

I can go back to an OTA session in that first year with the new staff. Pollard was part of a play and did something that Pendergast didn’t like. The coordinator said something to him and Pollard did not like what was being said, so he shot back a comment. This back and forth went on for about 15 or 20 seconds. What was said and the tone of the words we have no idea. But eventually, Haley stepped into the exchange and walked Pollard away. That didn’t stop Pollard from expressing his frustration to the head coach.

The next day, I asked Pollard about the exchange in the locker room. “You saw that?” he asked. “Man, I really can’t talk about it right now. I’ll get too fired up.” I asked if he was OK with the head coach. “Yeah, we talked and I’m good with him and I think he’s good with me.” What about Pendergast? “Man, I can’t go there,” Pollard said.

As the off-season and pre-season rolled on, it became obvious that the powers that be with the Chiefs were not happy with both starting safeties they inherited in Pollard and FS Jarrad Page. Through it all, Pollard kept his mouth shut. That was tough for him, because Pollard is a gregarious guy. He’s not a quiet personality. There’s too much passion in the man to stick a sock in his mouth when it came to matters of football.

“Bernard was a great guy to play with,” LB Derrick Johnson said this week. “He always kept things jumping. He was entertaining and I don’t know anybody who didn’t like him.”

Despite the shaky situation for any and all the holdovers from the season before, no one thought Pollard would be shown the door. When he was, it was a shock. Pollard was unavailable to speak at the time. His wife Meghan said he just couldn’t talk about things right then.

Why was Pollard released? Speaking this week, Haley would not say. When asked by the Houston media on a conference call if he could explain the decision to release Pollard, the head coach said:

“”I don’t think that I can. It’s not that I don’t want to. I just think that this business is a tough business. As coaches, you’ve got to make difficult decisions that are made for a lot of different reasons, and the No. 1 reason is to make the right decisions for your team. Sometimes, you don’t know if those decisions are right or not.

“I want to be clear about that — it was a tough decision and not an easy one. Some are easier than others. Like I said, I’m just happy for Bernard because I think a lot of Bernard.”

And it’s a personality that apparently did not clash with Haley.

“Bernard is someone with great personality,” Haley said. “He has a great personality for a team. Teams need personality. On top of that he’s an athletic, physical and smart football player that plays with passion. Bernard was a very well liked teammate. I think a lot of Bernard. I like passionate guys that are in to football and passionate about playing this great game. He’s definitely one of them.

“Anytime you go against guys that have been here or been part of the team there’s always a little buzz.”

Certainly, Haley is a smart enough coach that he’s not going to go over to the hornet’s nest and start hitting it with a stick. I’m sure there are parts of the scenario that he wasn’t going to share for concern that it would pour gasoline on Pollard’s fire. But Haley’s comments went above and beyond not ticking him off. It’s obvious from what he told the Houston and Kansas City media that he likes Pollard.

Turn back the clock and consider what might have happened if Pollard was not jettisoned last year. Mike Brown played the strong safety position and he was operating on his last legs as far as football was concerned. He wasn’t nearly the athlete Pollard would have been. He may have done a better job mentally and understanding what it was that Pendergast wanted from the defense, but he wasn’t an upgrade as far as talent was concerned. Had Pollard stayed and played, it would be hard to make any assumptions that the Chiefs would have been a better defense or had a better record.

There have always been concerns about Pollard’s ability to cover and that’s had people – including at times Herm Edwards and Gunther Cunningham – talking about moving him to linebacker. The young man’s strength has always been his willingness to fly to the ball and hit. There’s always the chance Haley and staff felt he wasn’t disciplined enough to play a safety position. We may never know what it was, but we do know that Pollard was released on the final cutdown date. 

Now here we are 13 months later, and Pollard is still a starter in the NFL and Pendergast is gone from the league, working as defensive coordinator for the University of California. The hole left in the secondary was a big reason the Chiefs drafted Eric Berry with the fifth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

It wasn’t the only reason they went after Berry. The Chiefs brain trust really liked the entire package that came with the young man from Tennessee. But if they didn’t have such a big hole at safety, they might have gone in a different direction in that first round. Maybe a guy like Alabama LB Rolando McClain who went to the Raiders, or possibly they go for OT Russell Okung coming out of Oklahoma State or maybe they grab Michigan DE Brandon Graham, who went eight picks later to Philadelphia.

The sad part is the Chiefs got nothing for Pollard. That’s why they held on to Page as long as they did before finally trading him to New England before the 2010 season began. GM Scott Pioli did not want to have both of those young safeties off the roster and have nothing to show for them.

In the end, the move to Houston, where he played the final 13 games last year was probably a good move for Pollard. He was reunited with Gibbs, who was his secondary coach when the Chiefs drafted him in the second round out of Purdue. It was a team that needed his personality on the back line of its defense. So far in his 18 games wearing a Houston uniform, Pollard has 152 total tackles, one sack, four interceptions including one he returned 70 yards for a touchdown, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal earlier this year against Washington. Against Dallas, this year he had 15 total tackles.

There’s little doubt that Pollard will be in the middle of things on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. It would be a shock if the Chiefs don’t try to take advantage of his aggressiveness. It would be a shock given the Chiefs ability to run the ball that he won’t move down and become the eighth man in the box on first down. There’s no chance that Pollard plays the game without some running commentary to his former teammates.

And, it could be interesting to hear what he has to say after the game.


  • BENGALS – NFL suspended DE Antwan Odom for four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug rules. Odom’s attorney said in a statement Friday that while driving to Cincinnati to report to training camp, Odom’s wife mistakenly opened her own pill bottle and gave him a weight loss pill, instead of her husband’s prescribed medicine.
  • BROWNS – rookie Colt McCoy is expected to start at quarterback on Sunday against the Steelers.
  • COWBOYS – signed WR Jesse Holley off their practice squad; released OT Robert Brewster.
  • EAGLES – will start Kevin Kolb at quarterback on Sunday against the Falcons.
  • JETS – CB Darrelle Revis was ticketing for speeding and careless driving in Livingston, N.J. as he drove to the team facility on Thursday. Reportedly he was clocked at 81 mph in a 40 mph zone.
  • PACKERS – placed LB Nick Barnett on the injured-reserve list (wrist) ending his season; signed DE Michael Montgomery.
  • RAIDERS – Jason Campbell will start at quarterback on Sunday against the 49ers.
  • TEXANS – DE Antonio Smith was fined $12,500 by the NFL for several late hits during the game last week against the Giants.
  • VIKINGS – Brett Favre has told ESPN that he will start on Sunday.

12 Responses to “He Won’t Be Quiet Sunday … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 16, 2010  - Edward says:

    I was shocked when he was cut but in the end it worked for KC because we got an even better safety and it worked out for Pollard because it looks like he’s become a little more complete safety in Houston. So in the end something negative turned into something positive for both the organazation and the player.

  • October 16, 2010  - el cid says:

    Except he was already on the Chief’s roster. If he had worked out a different need might have been filled in place of Berry. It happens all the time, especially to the Chiefs. Get a college kid and it does not work out. If Pollard had fit in, then we might have gotten a WR or MLB or whatever Haley wanted, but no we needed a S. Every time a team, any team, cannot develope a player on their roster, the team loses as a whole because his aquisition and the replace sets the whole process back.

  • October 16, 2010  - aPauled says:

    Pollard’s a part of the 32 ranked pass defense in the NFL giving up 330 yards a game. That’s what Pollard brings at safety.

    I didn’t like the move at the time. Looking back it was probably necessary to move the team and D forward…along with removing Pendergast.

  • October 16, 2010  - el cid says:

    It is not about Pollard. How many guys, millions, and years have the Chiefs wasted on DLinemen? Bad coaching, yes, but any team needs to hit on more than they miss on talent and ability to contribute. Heck we could still be stuck with Carl if he has not flopped so many times on acquisition of guys.

  • October 16, 2010  - Edward says:

    I agree with El cid its not always players but we’ve had bad coaching and mix of bad players. Pollard doesn’t fit the description. He was a good player but apauled is right he was notorious for blowing coverages and not wrapping up when he makes a tackle which alot of times led to miss tackles and big plays. But he’s seem to be playing a little better in Houston but apauled is also right he is playing in a secondary that is worst in the league. I haven’t watch any Texans game so its hard for me to say if he’s contributing to that I just know when he was here he definately contributed to blown coverages here.

  • October 16, 2010  - Blake says:

    I remember reading that Pollard and Pendergast got into an argument, and when I saw Pollard’s name on the cut list I knew that it was most likely because of that argument.

  • October 16, 2010  - Rowan says:

    You never win a head on collision w your boss. And to keep attention and discipline Haley had to support Pendergast then even if Haley knew Pendergast was wrong. It seems for Haley it was playerwise and personally difficult to do what was necessary to preserve the “chain of command.” To overrule Pendergast is to undercut him and destroy his authority in his role. If do that have to replace him. Which he did at the earliest opportunity, but it wasn’t in the cards then. To Haley’s credit, he never badmouths anyone. The most he can do is goodmouth Pollard which he is doing (and probably did at the time if Houston called.)

  • October 16, 2010  - Michael says:

    I agreed with the moving of Pollard for the reasons stated by Rowan, but I was, and still am, unhapy that the Chiefs got nothing in return for Pollard.

    To say it happens all the time where teams get college players (drafted and undrafted, I guess)and it doesn’t work out, and the team has to fill that hole is true. But, to say this happens especially to the Chiefs; I don’t think is. I think it’s more of a difference between good organizations and bad; from the GM to the college scouts and coaches. Something’s not working in that chain if you’re getting too many misses.

  • October 16, 2010  - el cid says:

    Michael, just a bit revisionist? Look at the roster, start at about 8 years and drafted or been on the Chiefs for entire career and work your way forward to 3 years. Not much left on the roster or even playing in the NFL. How many DL have been drafted since Sims? I submit the Chiefs have done a poor to piss poor job. And lack of talent was a major reason for Pioli’s hiring and “plan” which did not include most players on the roster at that time.

    Agree about Pollard, a waste but apparently Haley did not want him.

  • October 16, 2010  - Roger says:

    el cid…Well said. I loved watching Pollard’s hard hits, but hated those blown coverages that resulted in points for the opposition. Nice player, but sorry to say, his talents were too one-sided. Have a nice career Benard, come by and see our Lombardi trophy in a couple of years–we’ll get there before you guys…

  • October 16, 2010  - Michael says:

    I think the Chiefs have had some very good drafts in recent years and, yes, prior to that some very poor ones. They weren’t complete wastes, but good teams and good organizations do much better. Which is what I am saying, poor drafts are hardly unique to the Chiefs. That’s what caught my ear, seemingly saying that bringing in poor rookie classes are common in the NFL, but especially the Chiefs.

  • October 17, 2010  - el cid says:

    Arguing about our opinions is part of the fun.

    So consider Pioli’s first draft. Succop, Jackson, Magee, and TE are all that is left. TE is hanging on by his teeth, does not play. Magee, a 3rd rounder, is a sub. The Chiefs were 2-14 the year before their draft and COULD NOT find but 2 starters from a really bad herm team. There is a lot more to it but just shows how badly a draft can go. Do not know about other team but the Chiefs miss more than they hit and that is why their record was so bad, no talent infusion.

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