Don't Kill The Mellinger

The moment Chiefs fans held their breath...

Updated: 2013-07-29T15:58:14Z

By SAM MELLINGER

The Kansas City Star

— The unofficial time was 9:42 a.m. Monday when the people here held their breath. They’re not used to this tackling stuff, not in training camp anyway, and besides, did it need to be Jamaal Charles? The superstar? The irreplaceable part of this offense, the one thing the Chiefs offense had going for it last year?

Training camp tackling used to be, more or less, like two buzzed frat guys meeting up: sort of a hug, wrap up, make ’em know you’re there but don’t go to the ground. That’s how Romeo Crennel did it last year, and Todd Haley before him. High and hard, they called it. No reason to take unnecessary risks.

Well, we saw how that worked out. There’s no telling how much the reluctance to tackle in training camp had to do with the reluctance to tackle during the regular season, but, well, safe to say it didn’t help.

So now they’re tackling. Real tackling. There’s nothing here that would draw a penalty or fine from Roger Goodell — they’re teammates, after all — but it’s more than enough that you or me would be feeling it the next day. Hard hits, take-the-guy-to-the-ground kind of stuff.

Which is how we find Charles on the ground, under some bodies, and the fans who came to watch in the rain holding their breath.

Charles popped right up. Dusted himself off a bit. High-fived the guy who tackled him. No hard feelings.

So much different than a year ago.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send email to smellinger@kcstar.com or follow twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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