(Updated below with new information.)
It’s not uncommon in the weeks leading up to NFL drafts that we read and hear rumors — factual, fictional or somewhere in between — that affect a player’s draft stock.
A prime example of this came back in 1983, when rumors of recreational drug use led to Dan Marino not getting drafted until the 27th pick (and the sixth quarterback taken). Even then Steelers coach Chuck Noll admitted years later the team was scared off by the rumors. We’ll never know to what extent the Marino rumors were true, but he went on to become an NFL Hall of Famer.
What happened to Jonathan Dwyer Sunday was something completely different — to say nothing of completely unfair. Fox Sports reported that the Georgia Tech running back was among the high-profile players to fail a drug test at the NFL scouting combine. AJC.com picked up the story, then followed it up later, explaining the drugs actually was prescription medication, which the NFL was aware of.
Dwyer eventually confirmed to our Doug Roberson that he has been taking medication for ADD for several years. That hardly makes him unique in sports — or for that matter, anywhere in the United States.
(UPDATE: Dwyer told Doug Roberson today that, while he informed the NFL well ahead of time of the medication he was taking, one of the league doctors mistakenly did not include him on the exemption list. As a result, Dwyer’s name showed up on the list among those players who tested positive.)
I don’t know Dwyer outside of talking to him after Tech games and on a few other occasions. My impression: a good kid, a smart kid. He’ll be a solid NFL player. It’s unfortunate that his name ever was connected with a negative string of words like “failed drug test.”
When I asked Dwyer’s agent, Adisa Bakari, about pre-draft rumors of players and how it compares to Dwyer’s, he responded: “This is not a conventional story. Typically, there’s a story where there’s something that suggests some culpability on the part of the player, whether it’s marijuana use or steroids or an unknown injury. This story lacks a story. The NFL was aware of it.”
You can understand why Dwyer, his family and his agent might be upset by this. Fortunately, once his name comes off the board this week, it will quickly be forgotten.