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Sporting News: Little Looks For Redemption

Or a nice paycheck, depending on how cynical you are.

Former Tar Heel WR Greg Little becomes the last of the ineligible three to talk to the media as he prepares for the NFL Draft.

Little took a significant step toward changing that this week. In the ex-North Carolina wide receiver's first interview since he was suspended for the 2010 season for improper dealings with an agent, Little told Sporting News this week that he made a "terrible mistake."

His mistake reportedly involved accepting jewelry, travel and other benefits totaling approximately $5,000 in value.

"Not to say that it excuses my behavior, but I understand there are consequences for every action that you do," said Little, a former running back who switched positions as a junior and then led the Tar Heels in all receiving categories in 2009, then had seemingly realistic first-round hopes pinned on a senior season that never happened. "I'm a living and walking testament to college guys — the road not to go down."

The path he's been on since, though, has pointed him toward a redemptive trip to Indianapolis next week for the NFL Scouting Combine.

I will give Little, Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn credit. They either are sincere in their remorse or got really good advice from their agent in terms of how to address the NCAA issues in the media. All three have expressed regret, called it a mistake and in the case of Little hoped it serves as a warning to other college athletes. Then again, whether Little personally pays a price for his NCAA misdeeds remains to be seen. It is possible Little ends up being drafted and succeeding in the NFL despite missing his senior season.

The reality is most of the guys, especially highly rated ones like Austin or Quinn, taking the gifts does not cost them. Yes they take a reputation hit but for a league that ultimately forgave a player who tortured and killed dogs, recovering your reputation from a few NCAA violations is nothing. Little is not the same kind of prospect as Austin and Quinn so it will be interesting to see if his NFL career trumps losing his senior season.