Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett could only take so many questions about rumors regarding his drug use. After refusing to elaborate on the issue four or five times, Mallett exited his interview at the NFL Scouting Combine abruptly.
“When I saw that stuff, I laughed about it,” Mallett said initially. “I said I’m not going to talk about it here,” Mallett repeated later.
Asked if he could dispel the rumors outright, Mallett said he would only talk about the issue with NFL teams.
“Obviously someone did that for a reason, right before the combine,” Mallett said, hinting that he was somehow being set up with the rumors.
One can question whether it was fair for Mallett to face so many questions on the issue, but his handling of the problem is not going to help him. Being a quarterback in the NFL is about more than reading defenses. The pressure of Saturday’s media session seemed to get to Mallett.
He was also forced to address questions about his decision-making on the field.
“7,000-plus yards and 60 touchdowns in two seasons. That’s how I respond to that,” Mallett responded.
Yes, he’s only a college kid. But he had the opportunity to address the drug rumors directly Saturday and he chose not to. There is a fine line between cocky and immature. How will he handle the spotlight when he faces adversity in the NFL?
We hear it repeatedly this time of year: Film doesn’t lie. Teams will watch the tape of Mallett’s press conference Saturday, and we doubt they will like what they see.