INDIANAPOLIS: DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Dan “Boom” Herron are still considered pariahs by some Ohio State fans, although they inspire far less vitriol than Terrelle Pryor.
But their part in the memorabilia sales scandal that shook the OSU football program to its foundation and resulted in the forced resignation of coach Jim Tressel barely moved the NFL’s seismic needle. Pryor used the supplemental draft to find a job with the Oakland Raiders. When it comes to the status of Posey, Adams and Herron in the April 26-28 draft, coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine said it won’t weigh heavily in their evaluations.
“You don’t get a death sentence with one mistake,” Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium. “You look a little bit deeper into exactly what they did. A lot of times young people make mistakes. We’re not going to kick anybody off the team.”
Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel, now holding the same title with the Kansas City Chiefs, doesn’t consider the OSU players in the same light as prospects who have had run-ins with the law.
“Being suspended because you’re signing autographs and getting money for it or selling your helmets or things like that, that can be looked at as a youthful transgression and those guys not quite understanding the ramifications,” Crennel said Saturday. “That doesn’t mean they’re bad people, that doesn’t mean they’re bad football players. What you have to determine is ‘Did they learn from their experience and will they not repeat the transgression?’ ”
That’s key in the mind of Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who said they sometimes bring up incidents from high school during their pre-draft interviews.
“Any player that’s dealt with anything like that, it’s more about how they’re going forward with it,” Schwartz said.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said the league has two hot-button off-the-field issues. They have nothing to do with selling rings (Adams and Posey) or a jersey, pants and shoes (Herron).
“One of them is drug use and the other one is violence, especially against women,” Mayock said during a conference call earlier this month. “I don’t think this is any big deal at all. I think the bigger thing is what kind of football players are they?”
In that evaluation, it’s their loss of playing time that could prove costly two months from now. Wide receiver Posey missed 10 games, five for selling memorabilia and five more for receiving excessive pay for a summer job. Running back Herron sat out six games, one a summer pay sanction, and left tackle Adams was docked five for Tattoogate. All could have used those games to improve, especially their lack of consistency, and might slip in the draft because of it.
Pro Football Weekly projects Adams as a first- or second-round pick and Herron and Posey as fifth- or sixth-rounders. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Herron is a third-round talent but believes he could go three rounds later than he should because of the time he lost.
Last season’s suspension was the second for Adams; he was forced to sit out two games in 2009 for a violation of team rules. That might have eaten up more of the 15 minutes in the speed dating-style interviews than tattoo parlor talk.
At the combine, Adams, Herron and Posey opened up about their missteps and spoke with candor in their turns at the podium. Herron wasn’t at all testy when the scandal was brought up.
“I don’t have any problem telling that story. I’ve told it a million times so it’s kind of easy to do,” said Herron, a Warren, Ohio native who was voted a co-captain despite his suspension. “It’s something I did a couple years ago, so I think they know I learned from my mistakes and am moving forward now.”
Herron said he’d learned he must make better decisions, that likely driven home by Tressel’s departure. As Crennel said — and perhaps even heard from Adams, Posey and Herron at the Senior Bowl — they surely never expected OSU would jettison Tressel and be slapped with a one-year bowl ban and a loss of scholarships. Especially when Adams said Thursday: “I love coach Tress. He’s been like a father to me.”
That could carry a lot of guilt the aforementioned three must prove they can get over.
Adams presumably told teams the reason he sold his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,000. Some might have sympathized.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Adams needed the money for frequent trips to Farrell, Pa., after his 16-year-old cousin, Alessa Norris, was killed in a car accident in 2009. He said Thursday he was in the area when it happened and had to break the news to her sister.
Norris’ death affected him deeply, and her nickname, LeLe, is tattooed on the inside of Adams’ left forearm.
“Growing up, we were like brother and sister,” Adams said.
Adams paid for that tattoo, by the way. But even if he hadn’t, if NFL teams are satisfied with his explanation of the NCAA violation and his ’09 suspension, they’ll care more about his disappointing performance in Saturday’s bench press.
As Mayock pointed out, lifting 225 pounds a mere 19 times when you stand 6-foot-7 and weigh 323 pounds is “not acceptable for that position, not even close,” especially when some defensive backs lift that many. On draft day, NFL general managers might consider that Adams’ most egregious transgression.