USA TODAY Sports
Former Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis sent out a tweet yesterday setting off a firestorm. Davis' tweet basically told the world that the Kansas City Chiefs were tampering with Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith, negotiating with him prior to the start of free agency. Davis awkwardly backed off the tweet a little while later.
I seen my dude Sean Smith last night he said he talking to KC him & B Flowers will makes a good Duo— Vontae Davis (@VontaeDavis23) February 27, 2013
Yesterday, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis jumped back into the headlines for his former team, the Miami Dolphins. Davis sent out the above tweet, stating that current Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith, who is scheduled to be a free agent when the new league year starts on March 12, had been in discussions with the Kansas City Chiefs about possibly joining them for the 2013 season.
The problem with that is, any contact between a team and a player, or a player's representation, prior to the league's defined negotiating period starting March 9, is tampering. Teams can be penalized, including losing draft picks, for tampering. And, despite that every team tampers during the NFL Scouting combine, most teams, agents, and players don't go around advertising it. Unless, of course, it's Davis.
My Twitter was Hack I did not see Sean Smith last night!!— Vontae Davis (@VontaeDavis23) February 27, 2013
After many, many, (many...) tweet pointed out to Davis that his comment could be seen as tampering, he tried to back off the tweet, declaring that his Twitter account had been hacked.
Before that second tweet even came out, Miami Herald reporter Armando Salguero had called Smith's agent, David Canter, to ask about the situation. After he denied the truth in the tweet, Canter was asked if Davis was lying. He replied, "I say clients haven't ever spoken to teams prior to free agency so his statement isn't true."
The key thing to note there is, Canter didn't say he hadn't spoken to a team prior to free agency. Just that his clients haven't. That clearly leaves the possibility that Canter spoke to the Chiefs about Smith, then Canter relayed the information to his client.
Just a few minutes after Davis attempted to retract his statement, Smith entered the conversation, denying any discussions with the Chiefs.
Ok this is getting out of hand, I've never talked to any other team besides the Miami Dolphins. Yes I talked to ... tmi.me/M2R4O— Sean Smith (@SeanSMITH24) February 27, 2013
When the firestorm did not immediately die down following his denial, Smith gave a more in depth version of what had happened. The full text from the above tweet, using the tmi.me site, read:
"Ok this is getting out of hand, I've never talked to any other team besides the Miami Dolphins. Yes I talked to vontae and I told him Al Harris (our former coach) got the job up in KC and that I talked to him a few days ago to tell him congrats. That's it! Now why he interpreted that as "talking to KC" idk but there is NOTHING going on! This is ridiculous"
To some degree, that actually makes sense. It's not tampering to call up a coach you have a previous relationship with, and congratulate him on getting a new job. It is tampering if they then launch into discussion about the player joining the coach's team, but, at least according to Smith, that's not what happened.
Could there have been tampering? Of course. But, the fact that Smith was able to find a quick, non-tampering, answer to why Davis would say there was contact between the Chiefs and Smith lends credence to the story.
After his explanation, someone pointed out to Smith the "hacking" excuse from Davis. Smith then replied with the tweet above.
Not a whole lot will probably come out of this. For the NFL to find a team guilty of tampering, there has to be a lot more evidence than a tweet from a different player. Have the Chiefs and Smith spoken, through Smith's agent? Most likely. The Dolphins were said to be active speaking with the agents of soon to be free agent wide receivers throughout the Combine over the weekend.
Just, those discussions don't usually find their way into the instant universe of Twitter.