Friday, April 20, 2007

USA Today Discusses Player Character, Cornrich Comments

New NFL policy has teams trying to avoid 'bad apple'
By Tom Weir, USA TODAY
April 20, 2007

Background checks increase

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis — nine of whose players have been arrested in the last 17 months, including four arrests for Henry — says not every incident damages his view of a prospect.

"A guy who has had social problems with drugs and alcohol has a hard time with discipline," Lewis says. "A guy who can't get along with his teammates and coaches has a hard time with discipline. A guy who (gets insulted) and comes back at a guy, I can live with. There's a difference."

The Titans' Jones has had at least 10 off-field incidents since being drafted in the first round in 2005. He faces trial in Georgia for obstructing police and also has been charged with inciting a strip-club melee in Las Vegas in which another patron shot three people.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher says Jones' only issue in college at West Virginia was being involved in a fight. "We were not able to predict the choices the player would make once we got him," Fisher says. "Pac had one issue. He did have a rough background. But all the other background checks were good."

Fisher says such background checks have intensified.

In a sport in which successful teams' tactics routinely are imitated by others, agent Neil Cornrich says, the NFL's focus on background checks began with Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian's run of four Super Bowl appearances with the Buffalo Bills in the early 1990s.

"I think many of the shrewd evaluators of talent for years have focused on conduct and character," Cornrich says. "I think teams realize it's a more efficient way to get where they want to go."

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