He’s a real tough guy, that Aaron Kromer, not to mention a true genius. You can see why the Bills hired him, especially after he shot off his mouth in Chicago about Jay Cutler and ended up making a tearful apology. Rather than have him coach offensive line, maybe he could play left tackle.
Kromer is so tough that he was ready to take on three juveniles all by himself because they … assaulted his family? No. They were holding up a convenience store? No. Mugging an elderly woman in a dark alley? No. According to police in Florida, these dastardly children had the audacity to take a beach chair that didn’t belong to them.
Boy, he showed them, didn’t he?
You know teenagers. You can’t live with them, but apparently you can push them to the ground and punch them in the face. That’s what Walton County police said Kromer did after charging the Bills’ offensive line coach with battery over the weekend.
The boys’ response to Kromer threatening to kill their family if they called the cops, allegedly, was doing the right thing and calling the cops on Kromer. Within hours, he faced the indignity of having his mug shots taken. I almost didn’t recognize him without his baseball cap and headset.
Kromer deserves his day in court. I’m sure there’s another side to the story. Predictably, reports trickled out Sunday that he was acting in self-defense, didn’t know he was dealing with juveniles, it was dark – yada, yada, yada. I’m guessing the kids weren’t Cub Scouts. They may have sparked the whole thing.
But that’s not the point here.
No matter how the case unfolds, he should be sent on his way for first-degree stupidity and aggravated embarrassment. The Bills don’t need this hassle with training camp around the corner, enough headaches on their roster and so much optimism going into their first full season under new ownership.
Kromer is 48 years old. You would hope he’s more mature than the juvenile on the business end of his fist. You would think his life experiences would have worked for him before the confrontation began, certainly when it showed signs of escalating and definitely before a punch was thrown – allegedly.
What do we tell our children? Remove yourself from the situation. It’s not worth the trouble. The only adult involved should have been a voice of reason. He should have been a source of common sense.
Instead, he acted like a 4-year-old who had his Tonka truck taken away. He started flinging toys, in this case a fishing pole, during his tantrum. Kromer needs to sit in the Time Out chair until he learns how to control his emotions. That’s assuming he’s still employed by the Bills after the NFL gets involved.
It was good to see, as stated in the expanded police report released Monday, that his son stayed around to help find the fishing pole after Kromer marched back into his vacation home. At least someone in the family collected his wits.
The league issues are one thing, the real problem quite another. Kromer is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound man who teaches some of the biggest, toughest athletes in the world. He has no problem getting in the face of a 6-6, 330-pound lineman, but he couldn’t properly handle a minor dispute with a few kids fishing on summer vacation.
Is this a guy the Bills need in their organization?
At least Richie Incognito, whose behavior was nauseating enough, picked on people his own size. Kromer could have used the confrontation as a teaching tool about respect for people and property. Coaches view themselves as teachers, after all. Now he looks like another NFL egomaniac who believes he’s exempt from the law.
He should know that the league has its own rules and regulations that are much different than laws and sentencing guidelines in the real world. The NFL has come down hard on numerous players in recent years while trying to protect its brand, especially in cases involving violence.
Others have been suspended for less.
Saints defensive line coach Travis Jones was banned for 30 days because he was involved in a real-estate scam. Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, who worked under Rex Ryan in New York, was suspended indefinitely and never returned to the NFL after tripping Dolphins punt returner Nolan Carroll.
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was banished for three games after making homophobic remarks. Colts owner Jim Irsay was booted for six games for driving under the influence of drugs. Browns GM Ray Farmer will miss the first four games this season for sending text messages to the sidelines.
Let’s remember that it was Kromer who served as interim head coach of the Saints in 2012 after Sean Payton, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt were suspended in the bounty scandal that rocked the NFL. The experience should have reminded him how quickly the game can be taken away.
If the NFL can hand down a four-game suspension for deflated footballs to three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, one of its biggest stars, it can’t ignore a veteran coach who was charged with punching a minor in the face and threatening to kill his family. The Bills don’t need the NFL’s permission to fire him.
This is an easy fix.
Pat Morris, who coached the O-line last season, is currently out of work. The Bills struggled under him, but that didn’t mean he was the source of their problems. He’s been respected since he started coaching in the NFL in 1997. He knows the personnel in Buffalo. If not Morris, find someone else to replace Kromer.
Remember, this was all over a beach chair. Too often, we lose our perspective in sports. Character has taken a back seat to winning. Kromer lacked self-awareness that should have been expected from someone in his position. He’s an NFL coach. A beach chair is worthless when stacked against his profession.
He should have used better judgment. He should have walked away. It wasn’t worth the trouble. Now, he’s not worth the trouble.