This past March, former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra signed a one-day contract with Boston; he subsequently retired as a member of the organization.
A few weeks later, the same instance occurred for former Broncos K Jason Elam; he signed a one-day deal with Denver following a two-year stint in Atlanta. LB Zach Thomas did the same thing in Miami this past June.
Regardless of sport, whether it is baseball, football or even basketball, the “one-day contract” symbolizes a certain mutual respect and form old-school team loyalty that is quickly vanishing from professional sports. One-day contracts bring back memories of the days when it was commonplace for a player to spend his entire career playing for a single organization. The climate of sports has changed, now making a monogamous relationship between team and player a rarity.
Former Chiefs WR Eddie Kennison signed his “one-day deal” this morning in Kansas City. Just like Garciaparra, Elam, Thomas and the many others who have signed one-day deals to retire with a certain organization, Kennison meant a lot to Kansas City both on and off the playing field.
On the gridiron, Kennison was a mark of consistency for the Chiefs. He didn’t walk away from his tenure in Kansas City owning any scoring records or top receiving marks, but rather as a very good player who was an even better example of a “Pro’s Pro.”
Kennison’s career with the Chiefs ranged seven seasons (2001-07), a tenure that saw 321 passes caught for 5,230 yards with 25 TDs. His receiving yardage total currently ranks seventh in franchise history, while his reception tally is the eighth-highest mark in Kansas City annals. Kennison produced 17 career 100-yard receiving games with the Chiefs, the fourth-highest total in team history.
But Kennison was so much more than just one of the favorite targets for Trent Green and Damon Huard.
After bouncing around through a somewhat tremulous early career in St. Louis, New Orleans, Chicago and Denver, Kennison found what would become a permanent home in Kansas City. He grew as both a football player, and as a person, while with the Chiefs. His on-field numbers reflected that growth and his off-the-field efforts soared to new highs in the process.
As his career took flight, Kennison quickly became a fixture in the Kansas City philanthropic community. He established Quickstart: The Eddie Kennison Foundation in 2003 to raise awareness and research dollars for the autoimmune disease Lupus. Plenty of funding for local scholarships in Kansas City and Kennison’s hometown of Lake Charles, Louisiana would follow.
Kennison was a regular visitor at Children’s Mercy Hospital, was active in serving as a mentor to local high school athletic programs and spearheaded locker room fundraising efforts for a number of causes. In 2005, Kennison helped raise $168,000 in donations for Heart to Heart International in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and he was a nominee for the WalterPayton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2006.
More than a football player, Kennison committed himself to learning about life after football while in Kansas City.
He interned with the Legacy Financial Group during the 2004 off-season and with First National Bank during the 2007 off-season. As a result, Kennison’s entrepreneurship skills kicked in as Kansas City currently benefits from his business creations - The Entourage Institute of Beauty & Esthetics and non-emergency transportation business, Fleetwood Services.
Following his departure from the organization in 2007, Kennison played in three games (one start) with the Rams. He is the first Chief to sign a one-day contract since S Jerome Woods signed and retired in 2007.
Congrats to Eddie on officially retiring from the game as a Kansas City Chief.