Fox Sports reported that "more than 10" players failed drug tests at the combine, and the biggest names on the list are LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger and Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.
The drug use itself might not be the biggest red flag, depending on what the drug was. Miami offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, for example, reportedly tested positive for marijuana, the same drug that commissioner Roger Goodell wouldn't rule out letting players use for medical reasons. In 2014, when two states have legalized marijuana, you'd have to be pretty conservative to overreact to someone using it.
That's not really the issue. The issue is decision making. Players are coached up on every aspect of the combine, from how to run the 40 to how to answer every team's goofy questions. And one of the most basic things about the combine is that you're going to take a drug test. The combine is basically the most important job interview of these players' lives. It's an understatement to say it's a poor decision to do anything in the weeks leading up to the combine that would lead to a positive test. If you can't be trusted to handle something that basic, how are you going to deal with the NFL life?
Mettenberger and Jernigan were the biggest names among those in the Fox report. Jernigan has been projected as a first-round pick, and Mettenberger has been considered as high as a second-round pick. Fox didn't have a complete list, but said LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, Henderson and Florida State linebackers Telvin Smith and Christian Jones also failed drug tests.
Mettenberger's agents told Fox Sports he had a diluted sample, which is considered a failed test by the NFL. His agents told Fox that Mettenberger was drinking extra water at the advice of his doctors after cramping during his rehabilitation for a torn ACL. That should be easy for Mettenberger to prove, but it's something teams will wonder about.
Each team will have to consider how to weigh the failed tests in its evaluation of those players. But it certainly won't help the players that they have to answer questions about why they failed a drug test even though they knew well in advance they'd be tested.
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