Kennison caught in feud with his former teammates

Thursday, December 13, 2001

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If the Denver Broncos try to cheap-shot Eddie Kennison, he'll be ready to give as good as he gets.

"If that's the way they feel, and if they don't understand, then to hell with them," the Kansas City wide receiver said Wednesday. "I'm a grown man and I'm going to do everything I possibly can to protect myself and protect this ballclub."

On Sunday, Kennison will face a Broncos team that apparently feels betrayed by the way he abruptly walked out last month, just 16 hours before a game.

"Knowing the way our defense felt about that situation, I think there could be a lot of cheap shots if he gets out on that field," Denver linebacker John Mobley was quoted as saying on Monday.

Replied Kennison, who signed with the Chiefs last week: "If they really feel they want to go out and hurt me, I'll have to go out and return some blows and do whatever I need to do to protect myself and help this team win.

"They're not scaring anybody by saying threatening words."

On Wednesday, Mobley denied saying anything about "cheap shots," but otherwise did not back off.

"I just think that was a cowardly thing to do," Mobley said. "If he'd come to us prior to (quitting), it would have been a lot easier for everybody to handle. That's where the problem lies."

Justifiable causes

Kennison, who is still learning the Chiefs' system and may not play much, insists he was justified in walking out. At the time, his wife was experiencing a difficult pregnancy and his father was being treated for a heart condition.

"I didn't give a damn about a game on Sunday," Kennison said. "My wife was in the hospital and I wasn't by her side. That was the only thing on my mind. If they can't understand that, then they never were and never will be my friend."

Mobley said on Wednesday that his earlier remarks "maybe got a little misinterpreted."

"They asked me how I would feel if Eddie suited up against us and I said I don't think he'd like to suit up against our defense the way we feel about him," Mobley said.

Denver coach Mike Shanahan came to Mobley's defense.

"I'll guarantee you one thing about John Mobley, he's got as much character as anyone I ever met," Shanahan said Wednesday. "Even though he said that, I can guarantee you he didn't mean it."

As far as the Broncos trying to cheap-shot anybody, Shanahan said, "I guarantee you, that won't happen."

"I think what John was saying was he was hurt because (Kennison) walked out on the team the night before the game," Shanahan added. "And the players had talked to Eddie to find out if it was because of his dad's heart, or his wife's being sick. He had told them, 'No, it wasn't any of those things.' I like Eddie. I think he made a bad decision walking out on the team the night before a game."

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