Contrite and repentant, or a "finger-pointing, excuse-making con artist"?
Gregg Rosenthal of NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk has an entry today linking to an biting piece by Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly describing draft prospects with potential character issues. Chief among them: Marvin Austin.
Nawrocki said Austin interviewed very poorly at the Combine, throwing his school under the bus for his suspension last year without accepting any blame for wrongdoing.
“[Austin] has reputation in the NFL scouting community as a ‘finger-pointing, excuse-making con artist’ who does not know what it means to lead,” Nawrocki writes.
“[Austin] set a poor example and coasted way too much on his natural talent throughout college. Set back the UNC program by accepting improper gifts and was called “the ringleader” that led to investigations affecting the eligibility of 13 players.”
As for Nawrocki's assessment of Austin's on-field prowess, that is not exactly new. While Austin was a good defender, he never became the program-changer that it was thought he would be as one of the nation's top recruits. Whether or not that would have changed his senior season is obviously unknown. Ironically, the tweet Austin wrote immediately before the infamous Club Liv tweet was a reference to how hard he was going to work to prepare for his senior season, so even Austin was aware that he had fallen short of expectations.
What is new news is that Austin apparently did not interview well and that he sold out UNC along the way. This stands in stark contrast to how Austin has handled himself with the local media, in which he has been eloquent and has said all the right things and struck the right notes as contrite and remorseful. The general buzz on Austin has been positive, but that has usually related to his on-field performance. This is the first truly negative piece that has come out, and it is interesting that it is related to his character.
From UNC's standpoint, what Austin said to NFL teams is irrelevant; the only thing that matters is what he said to Elaine Marshall and the NCAA. But if Austin did sell out UNC to the NFL it only seems to be hurting himself. As Nawrocki notes,
Has clear first-round talent as one-gap penetrator in a 4-3 defense after showing well at the East-West Shrine game and at the Combine, and could fit into the back of the first round, but a number of teams have said they would not consider him until the third round, or would not want him at any price because of the way he will affect a locker room.
Anyone else looking forward to the completion of the draft so this chapter can be closed and focus can be given to the 2011 team, which could be pretty good in their own right?