Mike Kensil, the NFL suit that turned a suspicion about deflated footballs into a 16-month, multi-million dollar crisis that’s enveloped the league, has been reassigned.
According to Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, Kensil is no longer a VP of Operations but is now “V.P. game operations-international.”
“We needed a senior executive to work exclusively in this priority area,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Florio. “He’s been in Mexico City and China the last few weeks.”
Kensil’s reassignment comes just weeks after other game-day operations folks were moved out. Merton Hanks, Russ Giglio and Joe Hurta have all moved on and moved out.
The rolling heads shouldn’t be seen entirely as a response to the Deflategate fiasco, though. There’s a sense among those who would know that the housecleaning is being led by Troy Vincent, the NFL’s Executive VP of Football Operations. Vincent, it’s believed, wants to get “his guys” in operations. The NFLPA president, who lost to DeMaurice Smith in the race to become the union’s executive director, leaped from the players’ side into the pocket of Commissioner Roger Goodell when he went to work for the league.
Vincent hasn’t draped himself in glory. He embarrassed himself during the Ray Rice investigation, acknowledged the NFL Operations people on hand for the AFC Championship Game against the Colts had no idea balls could lose air pressure on cool weather, misrepresented how events went down that night and had the gall to criticize the NFLPA for spending money on legal fees.
So, the apparent Kensil ouster probably isn’t a sign that things are about to improve.
Still, his involvement in Deflategate from its outset makes him a key figure in the case.
It was Kensil that received the email from Colts GM Ryan Grigson asking that the league be on alert for ball deflation skullduggery.
It was Kensil that Grigson ran to during the first half of the AFC Championship and said, “We are playing with small balls.”
It was Kensil that reportedly told Patriots equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld, “We weighed the ball. You’re in big f****** trouble.”
And it was Kensil who reportedly leaked the lie that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs were two PSI under the limit of 12.5 PSI.
So, now he’s out.
In March 2015, an irritated Kensil told me at the NFL’s Annual Meeting that he’d tell me everything when Deflategate was done. Last month, when I saw him at this year’s meeting, I said, “Are we going to talk soon?” He replied, “No. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”