COMMENTARY | Coming off of a 2-14 mark and their worst season in franchise history--one that afforded them the No. 1 overall pick in this past April's NFL draft--the Kansas City Chiefs entered the offseason with a very pointed agenda.
One by one, the organization went about cleaning house--eventually emerging from the ruckus with the appearance of a much different group. From the front office all the way down to the players and assistant coaches that hardly get any airtime, Kansas City looks to rebound from its dreadful 2012 campaign in a major way.
For the Chiefs to discard their recent doldrums, however, the team's cast of returning players must lead the charge. And after an up-and-down offseason, left tackle Branden Albert has the most to prove in 2013.
One of the more active and aggressive teams in bringing in new faces this offseason, Kansas City made just as much noise with in-house moves--namely the signing of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a long-term contract and by placing the franchise tag on Albert.
Everything seems to now be running smoothly in the Chiefs' camp as the pieces begin to come together. Albert, himself, is glad to be in Kansas City and is looking for a fresh start.
"I'm just happy to be here. I'm here right now, and this is God's honest truth, I wanted to a Chief. I had to go through the process and now I'm here."
The process Albert is referring to stems from having no contract in place, trade talks coming from multiple directions, Kansas City's impending commitment to drafting their future left tackle and an uncontrolled gossip of a position switch to appease the direction the team wanted to go with the top pick.
Everything came to a head when Albert directed a Twitter rant towards the organization, while also choosing to stay away from voluntary team activities earlier in the offseason.
With all of that now behind both Albert and the Chiefs, the 2013 season becomes the primary objective.
"Everybody makes mistakes. Through this whole process, I realized I made mistakes. I shouldn't have said certain things. That's part of the game -- learn from it and move on."
Moving on means that Albert will play this season under the franchise tag and earn close to $10 million. Trade talks have become non-existent and the five-year veteran is expected to resume his spot at left tackle in Kansas City, with the top pick, Eric Fisher, playing on the opposite side.
The situation seems stable enough now, however, Albert's future with the Chiefs is still as questionable as it was just a few months ago--though he is hopeful of a long-term contract that would keep him in Kansas City for the foreseeable future.
The current circumstances are not such a bad thing for either side. Albert has a full season to prove he is one of the best left tackles in the NFL and the Chiefs have a guy who seems intent on doing so, even if one of his feet is already out of the door in Kansas City.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites, including Podcast to Be Named Later--where he is the co-host of the site's up-and-coming podcast. Jeremy's work can be read on Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various sports talk shows around the country.
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