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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A.J. Green's pro day saga, and other fascinating notes

Georgia’s pro day has just been completed. And there ended up being a bit more drama than expected.

The player a lot of scouts came to see was A.J. Green, and they did get to see him – but only through a computer, and only after a long set of deliberations.

The issue was who would throw to Green. The star receiver has been training with Justin Roper, a former University of Montana quarterback who now lives in Buford. But according to an obscure NFL rule, that prohibited scouts from watching Roper pass to Green – or Kris Durham or fullback Shaun Chapas – in person.

At first it appeared to be a lockout-related issue. No current NFL quarterback, such as Matt Stafford (who was in attendance) could participate, because players are locked out. And anyone throwing to the receivers had to be draft-eligible, ruling out Aaron Murray.

Roper, who works with San Diego based passing guru George Whitehead, is draft-eligible. But the NFL also stipulates that the passer must live in the “Athens metroplex,” as Whitehead put it. Buford was not inside the Athens metroplex.

There was a lot of back-and-forth, with head coach Mark Richt engaging in a lot of checking himself. In the end, Green held firm on wanting to use Roper.

“That’s the only quarterback that I had timing with. So my agent and I felt he was the best guy for the job,” Green said.

So after a long set of negotiations – including calls to the NFL league office – it was determined that Roper could pass to Green and the others, but the scouts couldn’t watch. So after all the other positions had gone through their drills, the NFL scouts moved inside to watch the catching drills on ESPN3.

As you’d suspect, Green was impressive in his drills. But he did take a spill near the end, tripping over a cord barrier.

“I caught myself,” Green said. “I had on some gloves, so I was all right.”

A few other notes off the top of my notebook:

- Green hasn’t made a decision about whether to attend the draft. He wants to, but is waiting to see what happens on the NFL Players’ Association boycott call. Green said he was hoping for a “conclusion” to the matter.

“It’d be nice to go to New York, that’d be a dream come true,” Green said.

- Green was asked about his Wonderlic score, which was reported to be low. There are 50 questions on the test, and Green said he only got to about 20 of them.

“I didn’t even finish,” Green said. “I was thinking too much. I didn’t want to skip any questions. … If you come back here and look at my grades, you know I’m not dumb.”

- While Green didn’t do anything but get weighed and catch passes, Justin Houston went through drills at defensive end and linebacker. He said teams are looking at him at both positions, and didn’t express a preference.

Interestingly, Houston said he only got a second-round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee. That’s part of the reason he took his decision right up to the deadline, only notifying Richt the night before.

“As of right now, I do think that I made the right decision,” Houston said. “But in due time, we’ll see.”

- Clint Boling said teams are looking at him at guard and tackle, but that more teams seem to be looking at him at guard.

“As long as I can play guard, tackle, something like that, it doesn’t really matter to me,” Boling said.

- There was also a Marcus Dowtin sighting, as the former Georgia linebacker was among the many non-participants who attended. Dowtin announced his intention to transfer after the season, and said he was looking at Division II schools such as Texas A&M-Kingsvile, Northwest Missouri, North Alabama and Carson-Newman.

Dowtin, who is not currently enrolled at Georgia, said those teams might let him also play running back.

- Logan Gray, who is also transferring from Georgia, was also in attendance, hanging out with fellow current and former players. Gray is set to visit Colorado in a couple weeks.

- And continuing the trend of awkward appearances, guess who the Carolina Panthers’ representative was on Tuesday? That would be Warren Belin, who left as Georgia’s inside linebackers coach in February to take the linebackers job at Carolina.

- I wasn’t one of the people who brought a stopwatch and breathlessly watched every drill. But it seemed that Kris Durham did well in his receiving drills and sprints, Kiante Tripp showed up well in the weight room, and the Cincinnati Bengals – who have the fourth pick – spent an awful amount of time sidling up and talking with Green.


PTC DAWG said...

IF I was AJ, I would be in New York..greedy players union be damned.

Joeski said...

It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To Hell with the NFLPA.

I hope the Bungles don't take AJ. Bad organization, and who knows who would even be throwing to him?

Anonymous said...

Seth - any thoughts on who might be the source for this?

Three possibilities:

Belin - whose new team holds the top pick in the draft

Kirby Smart who probably got some off the cuff info from his close friend Bobo and is using it to pump up a AL player

Searels - who is no longer part of the staff so may not have much loyalty.

The Cuatro said...

So why couldn't Logan have thrown to the WR's? (he's draft eligible and I think he still lives in Athens)

Anonymous said...

Because aj catches spirals not wobbles

Anonymous said...

Logan Gray can throw did you read the article hes transferring to another college. He will lose his eligibility you moron!!! Logan Gray cant throw for dirt anyways

Anonymous said...

revision Cant throw

Anonymous said...

I thought Logan Gray was transferring to a school close to home so his family could watch him play, and now he's visiting Colorado?

Something smells fishy.

Anonymous said...

PTC Dawg-

The greedy players union?

They aren't the ones asking for more money. The owners agreed to a CBA and don't want to stick to their word.

The owners close their books and tell everyone how they are struggling to make a profit. Its the oldest trick in the book in professional sports. Extensive research has actually been done by economists on this issue. Owners cook the books to make it look like they are losing money or barely making any. Couldn't be further from the truth.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anon 7:55. Took Economics of Pro Sports class at Georgia. Read a journal study showing in detail just how teams are able to do it in a half-legal sketchy sort of way. The article itself profiled the Marlins and the Pirates. Two teams you think don't make any money at all, but its just false. I know its baseball, but the same principles apply. Just because someone is earning 6 or 7 figures, doesn't mean they can't be ripped off too. Neither side is competely innocent, but the owners deserve the far bigger share of the blame if there is no NFL in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Green Bay Packers cash flows. They are the only publicly owned team in the country, so their accounting books are public information. Their operating revenue is shrinking rapidly.

Which "economists"have been researching this?

Anonymous said...

This article is from yesterday.

Owners are saying the players received 70% of incremental revenue from 2006-2009. An audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers show that the players received only 52%.

"The NFL wants to artificially inflate the percentage of incremental revenue going to players by excluding revenues that never go to players," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said. "League officials ... have been selling a lockout to owners based on misleading and incomplete financial information. They excluded the cost credits to be able to tell owners that player costs are rising faster than all revenues. This is not true."

I know that quote comes from an NFLPA rep, but PricewatershouseCoopers essentially agreed with them in their audit. But don't take it from me. Read the article.

Anonymous said...

8:03 ANON

The difference between MLB and the NFL is that some MLB teams are owned by corporations, and not individual people. Its much easier for corporations to hide the money than it is for a single person.

Also, some of these guys that left early will really regret it if there is no NFL in 2011. I know AJ says it didn't impact his decision, but you can kinda tell by Houston's quote in the article that he isn't supremely confident about his decision.

Chris said...

Anon 803, there is a huge difference between MLB and NFL teams. First and foremost has to do with revenue sharing. The reason the Pirates and Marlins make a profit is because teams like the yankees pay massive royalty fees while those other teams spend nothing on players and pocket the revenue sharing. This allows owners to put a crappy product on the field and still make money. No comparison to what goes on with the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Dont blame Logan Gray one bit for leaving. He knows when there is a sinking ship and UGA is going down like the Titanic.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, when did I say one thing about MLB?

Reread my post, and then we'll have an adult conversation.

P.S. I know that sports teams are owned by corporations, my 4 year old nephew knows that.

Anonymous said...

"Athens metroplex?"

That's funny right there. I don't care you you are.

Anonymous said...

"Athens metroplex?"

That's funny right there. I don't care who you are.

PTC DAWG said...

Players are much easier to find than someone with enough capital to put at risk to be an owner. I say fire the current players all and start over. In 4 years or less, the quality would be back to where it is now.

gastr1 said...

Employees who have to prove repeatedly that they are the best in the world (with an endless supply of potential replacements) and perform a job that can result in career-ending/disabling injury at any time, while only being able to earn for 5-7 years on average, should be able to make absolutely as much as they possibly can.

Just sayin.'

DipSet said...

PTC Dawg,
That is an absurd notion. Fire all the players and start over? It would take 15-20 years to get back to where it is now.
I still don't understand why the players are being villified more than the owners. I agree 100% with gastr1. The average NFL career is like 2 years. Contracts are not guaranteed. The NFL is 1000000 times the product that Major League Baseball is right now. But for some reason, baseball players can get away with highway robbery (ie Albert Belle, Mike Hampton), because the contracts are guaranteed. Football is more physically demanding, they earn more revenue, and create a better product, but because some of them sign gaudy contracts, people blanket the entire league as being selfish, greedy prima donnas.
The retirement package for NFL players is borderline criminal, and the hypocritical way the NFL talks about player safety and adding more games could make your head explode.
Because of the salaries they earn, some people will never, ever, ever, ever, ever side with players when it comes to contract disputes.