Our old friend Kevin Seifert was among the reporters who got a chance to talk to Bryant McKinnie late this afternoon in South Florida and he has posted a very interesting item on his NFC North blog on ESPN.com that clearly shows the Vikings left tackle feels the whole situation involving his dismissal from the Pro Bowl last week was blown out of proportion.
That's interesting because McKinnie's failure to show up at practices -- and for the team picture -- not only got him kicked off the team but also led to criticism from many of his attitude toward the honor he had received. That's not to mention the lack of respect is appeared to show his teammates. But McKinnie, a first-time Pro Bowl selection, had little sympathy for the fact tackles David Diehl and Jason Peters had to play the entire game.
"Anyone who watched the game would know it wasn't like they were going that hard," McKinnie said. "If you watched the game, [the pass rushers] were stopping in front of the quarterback. I'm like, OK ..."
As for the amount of criticism his absence created, McKinnie said:
"I understand I missed it. But they tried to make it seem like it was because you were at the club and couldn't get up. No. I had called [agent Drew Rosenhaus] and told Drew I wanted to withdraw. I had taken a cortisone shot in my foot the week before the game. When you take that shot, it numbs whatever. You don't feel like you're hurt anymore. It was the New Orleans game. You feel like you're good on Wednesday.
"Yes, I did go out. I can go out and still get up the next morning. But my body started feeling a certain way. So I called Drew and I said, 'I don't think I'm going to be able to play anymore,' because my body was hurting. I was trying to push myself to play. It was my first Pro Bowl, it was in Miami, so I got to come back and play at home. [Rosenhaus] got in touch with the trainer. The trainer ended up calling me at 6:30 on Friday.
"I told him over the phone my problems. He said, 'Could you come see me in person?' I said I was 30 minutes away because I was down at the beach. He said he was going to dinner at 7 and I could meet him at 9:30. I said, 'Yeah.' We were going to meet at 9:30. Then he called me and said, 'I'm running late. I'm going to give you another time to meet.'
"So me, in my mind, I already had talked to him, there's no need to go to practice. There's no reason to go to anything else."
McKinnie also now claims he was sick in the hotel at one point and that's why he missed some of the practice time. He said the trainer came to his room on Wednesday and he received medicine.
McKinnie admits there could be have been better communication with trainers and others on the NFC side or that he could have withdrawn from the game earlier, like five of his teammates did. However, McKinnie added: "I don't feel like it needed that much attention on it."
He has yet to talk to Vikings coach Brad Childress about the situation, but did speak with Vikings vice president of legal affairs Kevin Warren. Warren told McKinnie to quit responding to people on Twitter about what happened. But McKinnie wasn't going to apologize about his decision to tweet about heading to clubs.
"I'm off at the end of the day," he said. "I had a long season. It was a pretty decent season. You know what I mean? It's alright."
An NFL spokesman said the league is looking at fining McKinnie but that no decision would come this week. McKinnie has had issues in the past with the NFL, including the 2005 "Love Boat" incident on Lake Minnetonka and he was suspended for the first four games of the 2008 season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after getting in a fight outside a Miami nightclub.
McKinnie clearly doesn't think this latest issue should be mixed with those. "There wasn't anything bad behind it," he said. "I just feel that they made it more than it really was. It wasn't like I got locked up somewhere and couldn't play in the game because I was in jail. That's how they made it seem. I just didn't know that it was going to be that serious."