Mitchell Has Something to Prove in Kansas City

With the acquisition of free agent wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, fans should get plenty of quotes from the sometimes flamboyant NFL veteran. However, the former first round draft pick is hoping to bring more than his Super Bowl act to Kansas City after spending four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles where some say he wore out his welcome.

Look out, Kansas City. Freddie Mitchell has come to town, bringing his own brand headline-grabbing irreverence to the Chiefs. Known more for his antics off the field than his accomplishments on it, the self proclaimed "People's Champ" will get the opportunity to show his wares in the league's most prolific offense.

Earlier this week, the Chiefs inked Mitchell to a one year deal, adding to an already deep and talented wide receiver corps. After a stormy tenure in Philadelphia, the 2001 1st round draft pick was released this offseason. Initially, the Chiefs went after Az-Zahir Hakim, but once that deal fell through, Kansas City turned to Mitchell.

The Chiefs are hoping that Mitchell can shed the inconsistency that has plagued him throughout his career, and add a veteran presence to a young group of receivers. Mitchell should compete for the third receiver spot, and possibly even the second. He definitely has the physical tools to be successful in the NFL. The hope is that the Chiefs family atmosphere and structure can help Mitchell become the threat he's capable of becoming.

His career numbers are meager. In four seasons, Mitchell has 90 catches for 1263 yards and 5 touchdowns. You'd expect better production from the 25th overall pick. In his best year, Mitchell caught 35 passes for 498 yards.

In Philadelphia, Mitchell often clashed with the coaching staff with his on field exploits and media antics. The situation finally came to a head leading up to and after the Super Bowl, where Mitchell made some comments to the media that grated the Eagles' front office. Once released, Mitchell indicated that there was a friction with a player but would not divulge who that was until last weekend.

When pushed by reporters on the subject after his signing last Saturday, Mitchell made it clear that the only person he clashed with was quarterback Donovan McNabb. He's not the first Eagles player to criticize McNabb and Mitchell for one is glad that he'll be catching passes from Trent Green this season.

Freddie Mitchell has talent. A standout at UCLA, he was highly touted coming out of college. Mitchell has very good speed and creates separation well, a must in Coach Dick Vermeil's fast twitch offense. A focused Mitchell can contribute in the offense. The question mark is how focused Mitchell can be.

Ultimately what will determine Mitchell's success in Kansas City is how quickly he will live up to his potential, if at all. The NFL has been waiting for the ability he showed in college to come forth. This could also be his last chance to prove that he belongs.

By signing a one-year deal in Kansas City, he is not only showing the Chiefs what he can do and what it takes to get to the Super Bowl, but also get other teams around the NFL interested in his services in 2006.

Thus Mitchell will have sixteen regular season games to prove that he belongs. One year, however is not a lot of time.

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