Mallett and drugs: Scrutiny for an SEC QB who’s NOT Cam

Ryan Mallett looked pretty good that Saturday in Athens. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Ryan Mallett looked pretty good that Saturday in Athens. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

As noted, Cam Newton faced some tricky questions at the NFL combine over the weekend. He did not, however, face any regarding drugs. Those were posed to Ryan Mallett, the quarterback from Arkansas.

Since Mallett declared himself draft-eligible, word had circulated that NFL clubs were concerned about “character issues.” Last week Tony Softli, a former pro scout and executive, posted on the 101ESPN St. Louis Web site that those issues involve the possibility of drug use, and apparently not just casual use. Wrote Softli:

Character and drug use issues are starting to rear their ugly head. Heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept him from coming out for the 2010 draft. A lot of people are comparing Mallett to Ryan Leaf. I think Ryan was a better football player, with a cannon for an arm but the immaturity was just too much to overcome. A hair [follicle] test might tell all 32 teams who this person really is.

There’s no word on whether Mallett underwent a hair follicle test at the combine, but he was tested in other ways. He threw well, which never hurts if you’re a quarterback, but it was widely reported that he cut short a Saturday press briefing due to persistent drug-related questions. Don Banks of SI.com described the session as “a train wreck.”

If you watch the video below, you might get a different impression. (Then again, you might not.) No, he doesn’t offer much in the way of responses to those queries, and yes, he does at one point say that’s the last he’s going to say about the matter, but he doesn’t storm off. He leaves after 7 1/2 minutes, not 30 seconds. He even says, “Thanks, guys,” as he’s exiting.

As a card-carrying member of the media, I sometimes wonder what we expect a person to say in such circumstances. Had Mallett said, “Yes, I’ve used drugs,” we’d have wanted to know what, when and how often. Had he said, “No, I’ve never used drugs,” we’d have branded him a liar should a test indicating otherwise come to light. (There is a record of him being arrested in 2009 for public intoxication.)

If you’re an NFL team in need of a quarterback, do you take Mallett in Round 1? (Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has said repeatedly he wouldn’t because of lapses in accuracy and decision-making.) He was, after all, good enough to lead the Razorbacks to a second-place finish in the SEC West, ahead of LSU and Alabama. He can throw the ball. And there was once a famous quarterback who entered the draft battling whispers about drug use and wasn’t taken until the 27th pick.

His name: Dan Marino. He’s in the Hall of Fame.

(OK, here’s the video, via MartyTimeTV on YouTube. And if you watch the entire clip, you’ll hear esteemed colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter ask two questions — both about Mallett’s relationship with Bobby Petrino.)

By Mark Bradley

105 comments Add your comment

B

March 1st, 2011
1:11 pm

Bradley. Dawg hater.

Hankie Aron

March 1st, 2011
1:13 pm

Hankie Aron

March 1st, 2011
1:13 pm

any love for the hankie mark?

Hankie Aron

March 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

you know i don’t normally get into this first second crap

B

March 1st, 2011
1:15 pm

Where are the kudos, Markster?

Dawg Trainer

March 1st, 2011
1:19 pm

Need a more imaginative handle before you get kudos. ‘B’ didn’t git ‘er done!

Mark Bradley

March 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

Kudos were deleted. Just like your first two comments.

dawgfan

March 1st, 2011
1:24 pm

Just had to throw in a jab at UGA didn’t you? I’m sure Paul Johnson’s defense would have fared much better against Mallet. You know, since he’s the smartest guy in the room and all.

Fish Bisch

March 1st, 2011
1:31 pm

I do not like the coach of the razorbacks.

Mark Bradley

March 1st, 2011
1:32 pm

You’re not alone, FB. Though I, for reasons unclear, got along OK with Petrino.

merbertmoover

March 1st, 2011
1:32 pm

man, that boy look like he got hit with a mallett, you know what im sayin? his head all flat and boxy….and he pretty dumb too

cantondawg

March 1st, 2011
1:34 pm

Mark,

If i were an Nfl Gm i would definitely take a chance on Mallett in the first round. The guy has a big time arm and has the “Potential to be great”. Most NFL quarterbacks are drafted on potential and he has as much as any. He has prototypical size at 6 foot 7 and a cannon for an arm. Good coaching should help him with his decision making.

Sports Review

March 1st, 2011
1:36 pm

[...] Street Journal (blog)Newton Should Go No. 1, But Not To PanthersNFL MocksYahoo! Sports -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Lawrence Journal Worldall 213 news [...]

Joe Tess Fish House

March 1st, 2011
1:39 pm

Perrier Jerry is a fist round bust. Lets hope the Flacons dont do that again

Mark Bradley

March 1st, 2011
1:42 pm

I’d say this is a big year for Mr. Jerry. He’s not a bust yet, but he needs to get healthy.

Coach Petrino

March 1st, 2011
1:47 pm

Bradley, I never liked you.

lanier

March 1st, 2011
1:48 pm

I too remember about Marino but nothing concrete came up . right?

Tosh.No

March 1st, 2011
1:49 pm

I’d be more worried about Scam stealing laptops out of the coaches offices and stuff, than with this guys drug use.

B-rad

March 1st, 2011
1:49 pm

Does anyone have any information or speculation on which drugs he is allegedly using?

PI

March 1st, 2011
1:55 pm

Mallett is Jeff George all over again. Chokes when its nut-cuttin’ time. Greatest of all time on Wednesday afternoon, but an absolute wet fish with 5 minutes to go in the game.

Wink

March 1st, 2011
1:56 pm

D-Led’s esteemed? About what?

Joe Tess Fish House

March 1st, 2011
2:02 pm

Jeff Goerge was the best QB the Flacons ever had. U have to blame Jerry Granville for screwin him up. If not 4 that, Jeff Goerge would be in the hall of fame.

Typical Falcons.

D

March 1st, 2011
2:05 pm

Tosh.No, You are a complete idiot! How are you going to say something stupid like that? I would rather have someone who got caught stealing 1 time then to have a druggie on my team. See that the problem with some of you,whenever a black person does something you want to magnify it but when a white person does it its nothing. hopefully this will be on ESPN and all on the news,but I doubt it(SAD).

5150 UOAD

March 1st, 2011
2:11 pm

Oxie was the speculation for Pain.

[...] View original post here: An SEC quarterback who's NOT Cam Newton faces scrutiny | Mark Bradley [...]

5150 UOAD

March 1st, 2011
2:12 pm

PI that sounds like UGA’s Murray. Win 3 qtrs. and lose the game in the 4th Quarter.

The Original WDE

March 1st, 2011
2:15 pm

This is why I hate this time of the year. The sports blogs aren’t even about sports, because none worth watching are currently in season.

Steve

March 1st, 2011
2:16 pm

I thought Tosh.No was comparing a thief to a drug user. How did race become the issue?

BirdDirty

March 1st, 2011
2:21 pm

I’d hate to see the responses on this blog if this was Cam and not Mallett. The word “thug” would be kicked around like a bean bag!! You people are the biggest hypocrites I’ve ever seen. In addition, the media (especially ESPN) would be on Cam like a cheap suit as well!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

March 1st, 2011
2:26 pm

Mark, You are a reporter. When somebody being interviewed says “I am not going to talk about it” why do other reporters think they are so special that Mallet is going to open up and start talking about it? How many times does it take before somebody actually thinks , “I’ll be damned he probably isn’t going to talk about that.” I would wager IF he were going to open up about that then he would probably talk to the lady reporter about it.

Tide got Rolled

March 1st, 2011
2:28 pm

D…really racist much?

Bubba Bean

March 1st, 2011
2:30 pm

If the coach is a lying, deceitful coward who suffers with character issues, what can you expect from the quarterback? I hope the young man can shake any issues he has, but being around Petrino can’t help but leave an awful smell!

…and JTFH…just say no to drugs! Jeff George had a million dollar arm with a 5 cent head!

gdawginkalamazoo

March 1st, 2011
2:34 pm

Looking at that interview he appeared to be high on “Charlie Sheen”.

Dark skinned white guy

March 1st, 2011
2:35 pm

What if it were a dark skinned white guy?

chainz

March 1st, 2011
2:36 pm

I’d take Mallet over Cam the Scam anyday…………

Joycee Banicheck

March 1st, 2011
2:36 pm

B-rad, I’d assume it’s the wacki-backi given his grammar and speech patterns. Just a guess…

gdawginkalamazoo

March 1st, 2011
2:37 pm

Joe Tess, I thought Brett Favre was the best QB the Falcons ever had.

chainz

March 1st, 2011
2:38 pm

Dirty Bird get your Mike Vick Jersey out and go fight some dogs….. twit…..

markie mark

March 1st, 2011
2:39 pm

Jeff George the best Falcons quarterback ever? Man, thats incredible. George had plenty of opportunities after the Falcons to get things done. You do know that we had this little backup named Brett Favre at one time, dont you?

PMC

March 1st, 2011
2:40 pm

Until there is some major actual evidence that Mallett has abused drugs to his detriment…I don’t really care about these rumors.

I’m more worried that he’s not mobile enough to get away from NFL pressure and that he will force throws into bad spots. If a team needs a QB and they don’t have to commit the money that Detroit committed to a very similar QB in Matt Stafford I don’t know why they wouldn’t give it a try.

PMC

March 1st, 2011
2:44 pm

Mallett’s real mistake in this was not hiring a PR firm to brief him on how to answer these types of questions.

I mean if you could write the story that it was HIS Cutlass Supreme and it was an Arkansas QB drug party or something that derailed another former Arkansas QB’s career that would be one thing….

being a jerk to snarky jerk NFL reporters…. not really an issue.

Joycee Banicheck

March 1st, 2011
2:44 pm

Maybe even the Purple Drank, who knows…

Robert

March 1st, 2011
2:47 pm

Nothing better for Bradley than spreading rumors. He’s to lazy to actually investigate things and talk about facts. All he knows how to do is spread rumors.

Pathetic journalism.

gt

March 1st, 2011
2:47 pm

I wonder if the NFL has linked something from the character of a player to the value of a player. I was surprised when Calvin Johnson was asked about his drug problem and then admitted to using some drugs and then it was leaked out in the press. The best idea is to never use drugs, doesn’t seem impossible from here, but you got to ask yourself how many are taking or using drugs and how many or lying about it. Then which one of that group do you want. What you really need to ask is why the show by the NFL and why now. Either they have some real proof this effects the play thus the value of the player or they are showboating to please the crowd which is a form of lying in itself isn’t it?

juvenal

March 1st, 2011
2:51 pm

&, markie, why did the birds get rid of Brett? seems like he learned to cope…

John

March 1st, 2011
2:55 pm

Cam bought a stolen computer, Mallett has drug-use issues…Those two issues are not comparable. But leave it to the AJC blog readers to make Cam out to be the thug. You people are unbelievable!!

Capologist

March 1st, 2011
2:58 pm

John, D…surely you cant be surprised by the hypocrisy?

DC

March 1st, 2011
2:58 pm

John its because one has a NC and the other doesn’t. Jealousy..

Prof

March 1st, 2011
2:59 pm

Hey John – Cam’s black. That’s all the AJC readers need to know.

If you’re black, an athlete and not perfect, the AJC readers call you a thug (because they know they’ll get deleted for using the N word).

THIS IS A FACT.

Larry

March 1st, 2011
3:00 pm

A coach and his quarterback, both with character issues. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

Mallet may not be a Matt Ryan in intelligence, but at least he didn’t say “I was axed this question…” and “I seen this…” like I heard yesterday from a certain QB from Auburn!

This isn’t the NBA…these big, dumb jocks that run fast and throw a long, tight spiral do not have the mental capacity to do what Rodgers, Brees, Manning, Brady–and soon to be, Ryan–can do to win a super bowl…think fast!