After a few duds this draft class in the ‘good guy’ category, I’ve taken Colbert to taks in a few posts. Are the Steelers capable of drafting and retaining players that will be free from run-ins with the law during their careers?
The StarTrib asked Steelers GM Kevin Colbert if he would shy away from players where a risk might exist. Colbert replied with,
‘No, I think that is unrealistic because a lot of the guys in the draft pool do have character challenges. It is up to us to assess that and determine if we want to take the risk. If we do, we have to be ready not only if the player does well but the consequences if it doesn‘t work.’
With the volume of ‘character challenges’ in the draft pool, will there ever be a time that a team can feel ‘safe’ from drafting a bad egg? If Colbert is accurate in his ‘lots of guys,’ then my guess is probably not. So, does that mean that each team in the NFL should hire a shrink – not only for player assessment, but also continued follow ups while the player is with the team? Maybe one already exists?
You would think that in all seriousness, the NFL would want something like this to be put into the CBA with the NFLPA. Players with bad character flaws cost NFL teams. I’m not just talking money either. The PR cleanup is just as strenuous on the team and costs money. I’m sure requiring some sort of ‘evaluation’ beyond physical readiness would need to be bargained – just about everything else needs to be.
But without some sort of deep psychological check with these players who tend to get into trouble, Colbert and other GM’s will need to play into those risks and make their own best judgement calls. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The only thing we in Steelers Nation can hope for is that each player making the roster keeps their nose clean… and whatever infractions do incur they are only minor and no one gets hurt.