When out on the scouting trail, evaluating talent and turning over every rock to find those diamonds in the rough, starts in August until the end of November. General Managers, College Scouting Directors, National Scouts and Region or Area Scouts, dig extremely hard on a prospects background as well.
People make mistakes in everyday society, all ages, nationalities and genders. Repeat offenders struggle to learn from their past mistakes and or short comings. The NFL is part of the real world. Football players or athletes in general are no different, even though society puts them on a pedestal.
Some of the stories that we hear when researching collegiate players from our sources, is enough to knock you over and it sends you away from the meeting just shaking your head in disbelief. Character is a major concern for Ownership, Coaches and all NFL organizations. While going through the draft process, many players are eliminated from draft consideration, and are taken off the draft board and put in a box called DND (Do Not Draft).
The old slogan “A Leopard never loses their Spots”. You see once a player is drafted whatever issues they had as a minor, a young and wild college student, follows them to the next level of competition if their maturity level has not fully developed. And generally when they were wild then, once they receive millions of dollars, a betting man understands the odds, and most owners don’t want the risk.
In my fifteen year tenure, I have literally heard every story humanly possible, from burglary and deification in a female’s closet, to car theft. There were several hundred cases of date rape, with a few gang rape situations, multiple arrests for sexual harassment, from digital rape to convictions from those who raped their own sister and now must check in with local police as a sex offender.
With drugs (cocaine, marijuana, crack, methamphetamine, heroin, oxycodone and steroids), generally comes an arrest, suspension from the University or College and loss of scholarship is the last concern and most of the time happens before they reach the NFL, but several prospects squeeze through the cracks. There have been prospects arrested for stuffing several ounces of marijuana into his shoes with thousands of dollars in a paper bag lying in the back seat, just miles away from the stadium where he was a good performer. Several prospects over the years that worked on their green thumbs when cultivating large rooms of marijuana in the basement of their rental home just off campus.
Forcing or encouraging a prospect to clean up prior to the combine by prospects agents, coaches and all of those concerned. This takes place prior to the yearly NIC (National Invitational Camp) Combine. Two situations will happen prior to the combine, players will flat out turn down the invitation, which raises a big red flag. The other flag is when they come to the combine, go through all the medical testing, interview process and compete in the workouts. A few weeks after, their agent sends out a letter stating the prospects mistake of testing positive at the combine, trying to be proactive on the situation. Any player that shows up and tests positive, has a major addiction.
Arrests for assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, that sent an athletic department into a tail spin and total disbelief. Families where both parents died of aids, and head coach and other family members raised them and their siblings.
The latest arrest at the University of Iowa this week, where a player was heavily involved as a drug dealer and user from his house. I can guarantee you he is in the DND pile, as soon as the information hit the internet, twitter or blogs.
Bottom line, when choosing and drafting in today’s world of major social issues that affect today’s society, there is reason for concern of past history, family history and the stability of the individual on a daily basis. Keep in mind some things never change other than the relocation to a different city, if there were Spots before they are still there, Spots are never lost just hidden.