Danny Parkins is the host of the “The Drive with Danny Parkins” heard weekday from 2-6p on 610 Sports Radio.
Danny Parkins: I'm Good With Baldwin, Prima Donna or Not
by Danny Parkins,posted May 4 2011 12:00AM
No one can question Jonathan Baldwin’s physical skills. At 6’4 ½, 228 pounds, with a sub 4.5 40 yard dash and a 40+ inch vertical leap – Baldwin doesn’t just pass the look test… he aces it. What people can question, somewhat fairly, is what’s between the ears. Baldwin comes to Kansas City with the dreaded “questionable character” label.
I say it’s only somewhat fair because a lot of people read the following quote, and without context, wrote off Baldwin as a bad guy. When asked if he was going to turn pro after his Junior year, Baldwin said:
“Heck yeah, I'm leaving. It can only get worse. They had me running a lot of deep routes (this year) and yards were hard to come by. I barely ran intermediate routes; it felt like they were purposely trying to disrupt my draft stock.”
The context is this, Baldwin wasn’t wrong about any of that. I watched a ton of Big East football last year (if you feel sorry for me, you should, it was brutal) and I saw Pitt’s offense. The first three options were ‘run Dion Lewis’ ‘run Ray Graham’ and ‘run Dion Lewis again.’ With Tino Sunseri and his noodle for an arm as a first year quarterback, it probably was the right strategy to help Pitt win football games. But for Jon Baldwin to showcase his talents, it couldn’t have been worse.
Should he have said it? No. But that doesn’t make it any less true. I had Mike Zmijanac, Baldwin’s high school football coach from the famed Aliquippa program on my show today and he said his former player “is no choir boy” and used the dreaded phrase “prima donna.”
But he used it as a compliment. His basic take was in order to be great, especially at the wide receiver position, you have to be confident. And he acknowledged that Baldwin shouldn’t have said what he did about Pitt’s offense. But he chalked it up to a youthful mistake and repeatedly stressed that his former player is a good teammate and a good guy.
He’s often the first on the practice field and the last to leave. He comes from a good home. And he said at Aliquippa, which has produced four 1st round picks in the last 21 years, ‘you have a choice to be an athlete or a hoodlum’, and Baldwin chose wisely.
I look around the league and I see Andre Johnson getting into fights; Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ochocinco talking trash; and I think to myself, I’m supposed to be concerned about Jonathan Baldwin complaining about his college offense? Please.
I’ll take the 6’4, 228, sub 4.5, 40+ guy every day of the week… Prima donna or not.