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fordfixer
04-18-2010, 12:26 AM
Bires: Steelers should steer clear of Bryant

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... ryant.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1424/2010/april/17/bires-steelers-should-steer-clear-of-bryant.html)

Saturday April 17, 2010 11:55 PM

PITTSBURGH — Dynamics of the Steelers’ draft process changed Monday when Santonio Holmes was booted out of town. That decision guarantees the Steelers will take at least one wide receiver in this week’s NFL Draft.

Which means they could pick Dez Bryant.

There is no doubt that Bryant, who played at Oklahoma State, is the most talented wide receiver available in the draft. At least one draft service rates him as highly as the ninth-best prospect.

But because of character issues, some teams will shy away from him.

There’s a chance Bryant will be available when it’s the Steelers’ turn to pick Thursday night with the 18th pick.

If that’s the case, the Steelers should not take him.

Because of the negative publicity the NFL has had in recent years, “character” has become a catchphrase for many teams.

The Jets may not care about character. They’re so desperate to get back to the Super Bowl that they recently acquired Holmes, a police blotter regular, in a trade with the Steelers, and cornerback Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers.

Both Holmes and Cromartie are talented players taken in the first round of the 2006 draft. But both have serious character flaws.

Holmes was arrested three times after the Steelers drafted him, including a 2008 bust for marijuana possession. On the day Holmes was traded last week, he was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season for violating the NFL’s drug code.

The Steelers gambled on Holmes when they drafted him in the first place. Despite his skills, he had a reputation as a prima donna at Ohio State and had fathered three children to two different women in two different states. Still, the Steelers drafted him.

Cromartie, who’s only 25, has already fathered seven children by six women in five states. The Chargers traded him away because of his questionable work ethic.

The Steelers, though, are trying to clean up their image in what has been one of the most disappointing stretches in team history when it comes to off-the-field issues.

James Harrison. Jeff Reed. Matt Spaeth. Ben Roethlisberger. Holmes.

In their own ways, each has shamed themselves and the Steelers.

That’s why they should stay away from Bryant.

Because he told a big fib, Bryant missed nine games last year at Oklahoma State. That stiff penalty was handed down by the NCAA because Bryant lied about his relationship with former NFL star Deion Sanders, who tried to land Bryant as a client for agent Eugene Parker.

That’s a red flag.

Google Bryant’s name on your computer and you’ll see stories with headlines like “Bryant trying to out-run past” or “Questions dog Dez Bryant” or “How far will Dez Bryant fall?”

Twice since Kevin Colbert was hired in 2000 as director of football operations, the Steelers drafted wide receivers in the first round. Both turned out to be nuisances.

The first was Plaxico Burress out of Michigan State in 2000. The second was Holmes.

Both were great talents. But both had character flaws.

Burress lasted five seasons with the Steelers. He’s now in prison for violating gun laws in New York.

And just for the record, the Steelers took Troy Edwards in the first round of the 1999 draft, and he proved to be an underachieving malcontent who lasted just three years in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers just haven’t had much luck drafting wide receivers in the first round.

The bottom line is that the Steelers have many areas to address in this draft. They have needs at cornerback, offensive line, defensive line and linebacker.

They should not draft a wide receiver in the first round, even if Dez Bryant is still on the board.

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com

Discipline of Steel
04-18-2010, 07:29 AM
Finally! An article that has me totally convinced of something and is not a lot of hogwash. Small point though it may be. Im glad nobody has Bryant in their mock.

I think the focus on character issues is born from the media focus on the police blotter. They soar in the sky above like vultures waiting for the next road kill. Everytime they feast on the live carcass of another player, Goodell rubs his temples and proclaims that the character of NFL players must improve. But the character of the players was never any better and will never improve. (Why should Cromartie's 7 kids to 6 women matter to us...he broke no law?) A cross section of any population will reveal that there are always people on both ends of the spectrum. So if the number of problem players has generally been the same, we must blame the media buzzards for over-reporting on the topic, over-amplifying the negative aspects of regular daily life. This point was finally hammered home to me when the Ga DA was quoted on TMZ. (Why was that loser advertising his position on TMZ anyway?) Honestly, I dont need daily updates on the investigations. Id prefer to see simple newsflashes at important milestones like arrest and conviction. We never know all the information so playing your case to the uninformed public is disingenuous. Save it for the jury who will get to hear everything. Im only interested in their opinion.

Shoe
04-18-2010, 05:49 PM
Oh, newsflash: Steelers, who have parted ways with shady characters Holmes and Burress the past five years, shouldn't take Dez Bryant.

I didn't even read the article, but... thanks genius (this writer, Bires), as if we needed to be told that.

Chadman
04-18-2010, 07:17 PM
Rubbish.

This board has proven that talent is more valuable than character.

If Bryant lasts to #18- draft him & be happy with it.

RuthlessBurgher
04-18-2010, 10:59 PM
Just curious...what exactly has Bryant done that makes him such a big character risk? He was suspended by the NCAA because of an involvement with Deion Sanders (and lying about their relationship to investigators). It was stupid, but sometimes the NCAA can be Nazis about things. Other than that, the only bad things that I have heard were relatively minor issues such as being late to some practices and the like. I realize that he came from a difficult upbringing (I believe his mother had her first child when she was in middle school and had something like 3 kids in her teen years) but that is not necessarily a reason to penalize a guy. Perhaps I'm missing something here, but he apparently doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs, and has never been in trouble with the police. Just wondering if I am missing something here...is he really an awful guy and I just haven't heard about it for whatever reason?

Oviedo
04-19-2010, 10:38 AM
Just curious...what exactly has Bryant done that makes him such a big character risk? He was suspended by the NCAA because of an involvement with Deion Sanders (and lying about their relationship to investigators). It was stupid, but sometimes the NCAA can be Nazis about things. Other than that, the only bad things that I have heard were relatively minor issues such as being late to some practices and the like. I realize that he came from a difficult upbringing (I believe his mother had her first child when she was in middle school and had something like 3 kids in her teen years) but that is not necessarily a reason to penalize a guy. Perhaps I'm missing something here, but he apparently doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs, and has never been in trouble with the police. Just wondering if I am missing something here...is he really an awful guy and I just haven't heard about it for whatever reason?

I would jump on Bryant at #18. He made a mistake by letting himself get "starstruck" by an NFL Hall of Famer who was manipulating a young kid. That IMO is more shame of Deion not Dez. I agree that I have heard nothing about him being a discipline problem.

I'm confident the Steelers will do their due diligence but keep in mind that if we pass on him at #18, I'm sure the Ravens won't pass on him later. It is still about winning football games.

The key thing the Steelers need to do is to get some kind of mentoring program in place. They do that well on the field when young guys come in, but they need to look at how they stay engaged with these guys off the field.

papillon
04-19-2010, 10:49 AM
If we can get a play maker like Bryant at 1.18 while it wouldn't make me jump for joy, I'd be okay with it. I'd still like to see Graham or Thomas, but they probably won't be there.

Come on Thursday night...the wait is killing me.

Pappy

Jom112
04-19-2010, 11:01 AM
From everything I've read/heard about Dez Bryant, he's a good kid just needs to wise up a bit. He doesn't smoke or drink.

I think his major problem is going to be the "being late to practice" issue. He's working on it and hired a life coach from what I hear, to help him be on time for meetings. If he can get that fixed he should be fine...

PSU_dropout43
04-19-2010, 11:32 AM
eugene parker.

JTP53609
04-19-2010, 12:27 PM
i agree, i dont get why people think someone is bad because a guy like deion sanders tries to take advantage of him, so he was late to a practice, if you dont smoke, do drugs, or drink than that tells me alot, arrogance is bound to happen and I think he will come down to earth when he gets to the nfl....

SteelAbility
04-19-2010, 01:24 PM
Well then, that virtually guarantees that we'll draft him. :moon

Ghost
04-19-2010, 02:28 PM
Here's a bit on Bryant from SI (King) a week ago:

NFL teams will have a tough call on Tim Tebow. The call might be tougher on Bryant. Teams wonder about his character after he lied to the NCAA about having dinner with Deion Sanders and was suspended for 10 games last season. (An idiotic sanction. Too severe if you ask me. But Bryant did get caught in a lie.) Teams wonder about the influences around him, and whether he'll be solely devoted to his NFL job once he gets drafted. Teams wonder about his maturity. And no wonder: His mother was incredibly young when she conceived him -- 12, Parker says, though the New York Times reported she was 14 when she became pregnant with the first of three kids she had in her teens. She later served time on a drug rap, and Bryant shuttled from "home'' to "home'' as a child.

"I'm amazed you're not a statistic by now,'' I said to Bryant Saturday as he left Baltimore. He was flying home to Dallas, to spend one night in his own bed before continuing on the trip Sunday in Tampa. "I'm amazed you're still here. How'd you do it?''

"Just staying positive,'' he said. "I used all the negative stuff in my life as motivation. I tried to stay humble. It's a blessing to have been able to overcome everything I have. By me going through everything, it's made me a stronger person.''

When Bryant meets with teams, the questions invariably are the same. They're about his suspension, his relationship with Sanders, who are the biggest influences in his life, and whether he'll be myopically devoted to football. He's a receiver with top-five-in-the-draft talent, who might get picked in the second half of the first round because teams see too many red flags.

I think Bryant might be turning a corner in these meetings. He admits his mistakes. He doesn't blame the NCAA. He doesn't blame his upbringing. It may be well-rehearsed, but if it is, he sounds sincere and hasn't had a hiccup.

"I just go and try to be me,'' he said. "People who know me know I'm not a bad guy. I made a mistake. I learned from it. I think it matured me. What I want these teams to know is I never committed a crime. I've never been in trouble with the police. Don't smoke weed. Don't drink. Whoever drafts me is going to get a dedicated, hard-working player.''

His two-week odyssey, he said, is "all business. I don't consider this exciting, and I don't consider draft day exciting. Just business. It's all on the path of getting ready to play pro football. When I get drafted, that's not the exciting part. Getting to a team and starting to work, that's what I'm looking forward to.''

He said three of the teams he visited either told him he'd be their pick if he was on the board when their first-round pick came up, or hinted strongly at it. The reason I don't want to put headlines on that is simple. Every year, teams tell players, "You're our guy,'' then end up picking another guy. So let's not get too excited about a "promise'' that may or may not be true. But many of the teams he's visiting could use a productive deep threat.