Just a few months ago, Branden Albert was only minutes away from hitting the jackpot that is free agency. But the Chiefs hammered out a deal with wideout Dwayne Boweand slapped the franchise tag on Albert -- and it's been nothing but confusion for the left tackle since.
Albert didn't show up for the Chiefs voluntary workouts Monday, and he said Tuesday that he's going to "stay away" until there's more "certainty" with his situation in Kansas City.
"I got franchised a couple months back, and there's been speculation about me not being there via trade, so until I know my situation's certainty, I'm going to stay away and work out until the time is right," Albert said Tuesday on NFL Network's NFL AM.
Asked the specific issue surrounding his situation, Albert pointed to the swirling rumors about what position he'd play and whether or not he'd actually be with the Chiefs for the "long term" as reasons.
"If I'm going to be there," Albert said. "If I'm going to be there for the long term. Right now everything's uncertain."
It seems Albert's particularly disconcerted that a regime change caused a breakdown in potential contract negotiations, stating that Scott Pioli's front office was working on a long-term deal during the 2012 season, talks of which have since fallen apart.
"That's exactly what my situation is," Albert said. "During the season we were negotiating, thinking we were going to come to terms, but things happen and now we're in the situation we're in now."
Albert pointed to a desire to "play left tackle" rather than moving slots on the offensive line going forward.
"That's not something I want to do," Albert said. "I want to play left tackle. I've been playing left tackle the last five years of my career."
It's hard to blame him; there's clearly much more money involved with the left tackle spot than there is at right tackle. But even moving spots wouldn't cause Albert to walk into John Dorsey's office and demand a trade.
"I won't say that. I want to be a Chief first and foremost," Albert said. "But at the same time I want to know what's going to happen to me with guaranteed certainty."
The biggest problem for Albert is there won't be any certainty for the near future, at least until the Chiefs decide what they're going to do at the top of the 2013 NFL Draft. If they go with Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher at No. 1, Albert becomes a lot more expendable. If Kansas City goes defense up top then Albert has a good shot at sticking on the left side of the line.
His status is very much in limbo.