HEISER: Dover grad John Kuhn leaves Packers with class
- Dover grad John Kuhn played nine years in Green Bay, making four Pro Bowls.
- On Friday, Kuhn signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.
- On Saturday, Kuhn posted a Twitter message thanking Packer Nation.
Social media is a tool.
Like many tools, it can be used to build, or it can be used to destroy.
The most critical moment when using Facebook or Twitter, or any of their brethren, is the instant when your finger hovers over the send button. Once pushed, your thoughts are out there for the world to see.
Unfortunately, all too many athletes fail to take a few extra seconds to consider what they're writing.
In the heat of the moment, they send off an angry missive about one topic or another without giving due deliberation to the possible consequences. Or they try to be funny or sarcastic, only to come across as mean or vindictive.
The price for such carelessness can often be intense and immediate. Reputations can be ruined, and in some cases, careers can be hampered, or even destroyed.
Yes, the post can be deleted and apologies can be offered, but the damage is usually done.
All because the send button was hit before properly engaging the brain.
Not all athletes, however, fall into the social media trap.
In fact, some use it as a means to build bridges, not burn them.
The Kuhn example: Dover High School graduate John Kuhn is one such athlete.
By now, most everyone knows that the Green Bay Packers parted ways with Kuhn. The team opted to go with a younger and cheaper fullback.
That's nothing new. It's just business as usual in the cold-hearted world of the NFL.
Kuhn, for his part, could've gotten angry or bitter. He could've gone off on a Twitter rant, lambasting the franchise.
After all, he had given his heart and soul to the organization for nine years. He'd become a cult hero to the Green Bay fans, who adored his blue-collar work ethic, chanting “Kuuuuuuuhn” every time he got one of his rare touches.
He helped the franchise become a perennial playoff team and was an integral part of the 2011 Super Bowl championship squad.
None of that seemed to matter. He was cast adrift by Green Bay.
Yes, Kuhn is 33, which is almost ancient in NFL years, but the 6-foot, 250-pounder was still a productive blocker and special teams performer. In fact, he was coming off his fourth Pro Bowl season in 2015.
Kuhn didn't hide his desire about wanting to return to the Packers, but he never criticized the team. He simply put his head down and continued to work out with a vengeance in the hopes of getting another shot in the NFL.
That shot finally came Friday, when Kuhn agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.
Twitter message: How did Kuhn respond to Packer Nation after he signed with the Saints?
With class and dignity.
He posted a Twitter message on Saturday to his 35,000-plus followers (@kuhnj30) thanking his teammates, coaches, fans and the entire Packer family.
No animosity. No bitterness.
It should serve as an example for athletes everywhere.
Kuhn is not addicted to social media. He joined Twitter just more than a year ago and has only posted 83 tweets in that time. Normally, however, when he does post something, it's often positive or uplifting, such as paying homage to veterans, supporting young cancer victims or giving a shout-out to his teammates or the Green Bay fans.
It's a classic case of less being more.
It's obvious that Kuhn thinks long and hard before he presses the send button. That shouldn't be surprising. He was, after all, an Academic All-American at Shippensburg University.
Still, it's a lesson that athletes everywhere would do well to follow.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.