Monday, November 19, 2001
NFL has no record of Chiefs auditioning Hutchinson
By Chris Mortensen and Len Pasquarelli
As reported by ESPN.com last week, former Stanford quarterback and current
St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitcher Chad Hutchinson will audition on
Tuesday for a select group of NFL scouts, as he considers his career
But it turns out that Tuesday's workout at the University of
California-San Diego, a session expected to be viewed by representatives of
8-10 invited franchises, actually will mark the second time Hutchinson has
displayed his talents for NFL evaluation.
League sources confirmed that Hutchinson, who bypassed his final two years
of NCAA football eligibility to sign a four-year contract with the Cardinals
in 1998, clandestinely worked out for representatives of the Kansas City
Chiefs in recent weeks. Contributing to the intrigue is that the Chiefs, who
have watched starter Trent Green struggle though an interception-filled
season and might be in the market for a quarterback, failed to report the
workout to the league office.
It is league policy that all such auditions be formally reported to NFL
personnel officials. Failure to do so isn't typically considered a serious
oversight, but the league could take some action, especially if NFL
officials conclude that the Chiefs purposely attempted to circumvent the
Two teams confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday that they have documented evidence
of the audition, which they say was conducted by Lynn Stiles, director of
football operations for the Chiefs. It is not known if the teams have
advised league officials of the possible infraction, but the NFL
acknowledged Monday it has no record of a workout.
A source with knowledge of Hutchinson's workout for the Chiefs said the
quarterback appeared to be "pretty rusty" from his long hiatus from
Hutchinson, 24, started 23 games for Stanford in 1996 and '97, and completed
379 of 627 passes for 4,235 yards, with 22 touchdown passes and 10
interceptions. He was the most valuable player in the '96 Sun Bowl game and,
at 6-feet-5 and 225 pounds, has prototype size, pocket stature and arm
strength. When he departed Stanford, football coach Tyrone Willingham
allowed Hutchinson "very definitely" would have been a high-round pick in
the NFL if he had continued his football career.
Instead he was chosen by the baseball Cardinals in the second round of the
'98 draft, the 48th prospect selected overall, and signed a four-year, $3.5
million contract that included a $2.4 million signing bonus. Hutchinson had
been chosen by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the '95 draft, but
declined the team's $1.5 million signing bonus offer so that he could attend
Stanford and play both sports.
Hutchinson spent his first three baseball seasons in the minor leagues,
where he posted impressive strikeout totals at every level but also
exhibited long bouts of wildness, then made the Cardinals' opening-day
roster in 2001. His stay in the major leagues, though, was brief, as he
appeared in just three games and pitched only four innings.
Once groomed to be St. Louis' closer of the future, he was 0-3 with an ERA
of 24.75, and he gave up nine hits, six walks and 11 earned runs. Hutchinson
returned to the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, in
He immediately moved into the starting rotation at Memphis, then to the
bullpen later in the year, but finished the season on the disabled list. It
marked the second straight year in which he spent time on the disabled list
with soreness in his right elbow.
Because of his time away from football, Hutchinson would not have to be
drafted, and instead a team could simply sign him as a free agent. Any team
signing him, though, would have to count Hutchinson against its rookie pool
Another scenario is that Hutchinson could sign a practice squad contract for
this year, which would permit him about six weeks of exposure to an NFL
atmosphere, and also provide the club a chance to evaluate him in a
structured football environment.