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49ers to host free agent Jason Brown

Jason Brown Pic

Adam Caplan reports that free agent offensive lineman Jason Brown has a visit scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers for the upcoming weekend.

Brown is entering his age-29 season and was considered one of the top interior offensive linemen on the 2009 free agent market. The Rams signed him to a five-year, $37.5 million contract that February, but Brown was benched last season and released by St. Louis on March 12.

The 49ers have a need at guard, where Brown played early in his career with the Ravens. He can also play center.

Brown was the No. 84 overall player on the PFT Hot 100.

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Even with 13 draft picks, Browns may trade down for more

Tom Heckert, Pat Shurmur, Mike Holmgren AP

The bad news in Cleveland is that the Browns have holes at so many positions that rookies could easily make up a quarter of their roster this season. The good news is that they already have enough draft picks to accomplish that — and they may end up with even more.

The Canton Repository reports, citing sources familiar with Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, that the Browns are leaning toward trading out of the fourth pick, although Cleveland isn’t expected to trade down as far or recoup as much as it did last year, when it swapped picks with Atlanta, which coveted Julio Jones.

But any trade down would likely result in the Browns picking up another pick or two in this year’s draft, and the Browns already have a whopping 13, which includes the Falcons’ first- and fourth-round picks through last year’s Jones trade, plus four compensatory selections.

The Browns probably wouldn’t trade out of the No. 4 pick until they’re on the clock on the night of the first round, as any team targeting a player at No. 4 overall ahead of time would be worried that the Vikings would take that player third. But if there’s a good deal to be made by trading down after the Vikings pick, the Browns would be open to making it. And maybe ending up not with 13 picks in this year’s draft, but 14 or 15.

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Griffin will turn down all private workout requests

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Colts owner Jim Irsay shouldn’t feel like he’s been singled out.  Although quarterback Robert Griffin III has declined to submit to a private workout with the Colts, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that he will submit to no private workouts.

(As I way typing this up, Adam Schefter was on ESPN saying the same thing.)

Still, there’s a sense that Griffin doesn’t want to go to Indianapolis, and that he prefers playing for the Redskins.  Though Griffin would never say that, the reality is that, with a rookie wage scale, the first overall pick no longer is as significant as it used to be.

Far more significant in the first round than the first contract is the second contract.  With Peyton Manning, the Colts forced him to complete every game of a six-year rookie contract and a seven-year second deal.  This suggests that the Colts will milk the full amount of the five-year deal that the first pick will sign, before applying the franchise tag and/or signing the player to a long-term agreement.

In Washington, where owner Daniel Snyder has never enjoyed a franchise quarterback, chances are that he’d be inclined to extend Griffin with a market-value deal not long after his third NFL season, at which time rookie contracts can now be renegotiated.  Besides, Griffin stands to make much more money via off-field endeavors in D.C., and he’ll be filling the much smaller shoes of Rex Grossman and John Beck.

So while Griffin is saying “no” to everyone, it’s likely that the tactic was aimed at keeping the Colts from saying his name with the first pick in the 2012 draft.

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Bus Cook “in shock” about Claiborne test score

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ESPN has confirmed our report that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a four (yes, four) on the 50-question Wonderlic test.

Adam Schefter of ESPN also has gotten a quote from Claiborne’s agent, Bus Cook.

“I haven’t heard a word about it,” Cook said of the score.  “I haven’t talked to anybody about it.  All I know is that [Claiborne] was from a complicated defensive system and he flourished in it.  I’ve never seen any sort of deficiency in him.  I’m sitting here in shock at what you’re telling me.
“And if it is true, how does that get out?  I thought the Commissioner was going to put safeguards on this information and there would be severe discipline if it ever did get out.  I don’t know if he scored a 4 or a 40.  All I know is he’s a great kid, he’s smart, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with everything about him.”
The truth is that Cook shouldn’t be in shock.  With ample samples of the Wonderlic available, Cook and every agent worth his or her commission should know before the kid takes the test the neighborhood in which his score is expected to land.
Moreover, if the sudden assertion elsewhere that Claiborne has a learning disability is true (and that argument would tend to conflict with Cook’s comments), it becomes even more important for Cook to know about it and to take steps aimed at protecting his client from being put into a situation that will result in an unjust outcome.
And so, regardless of why or how Claiborne scored so low, Cook should have known it was coming, and Cook should have either tried to find a way to improve the score — or Cook should have advised Claiborne not to take the test.
That’s a point Dan Patrick has been making for a long time, and it’s a great one.  Incoming rookies routinely decline to run the 40 or participate in certain drills.  If there’s any concern that the score will be low, why not refuse to take the Wonderlic?  The easy explanation for refusing would be that the player doesn’t believe the NFL will maintain the confidentiality of the score.
If the score doesn’t impact draft stock, then refusing to submit to the test shouldn’t matter, either.
The NFL can gnash its teeth all it wants about the fact that the information gets out.  Regardless, the information will continue to get out.  Everything relating to the draft gets out — whether it’s the Wonderlic scores or or stupid/funny things guy said during interviews or which guys failed drug tests at the Scouting Combine (there’s already one fairly high-profile name link to a failed February 2012 drug test).
Since a low Wonderlic score invariably is met with the argument that it won’t affect the player’s draft stock because the score doesn’t matter, the bigger question is why does the NFL keep using the Wonderlic test?

Maybe every player should refuse to take it until the NFL provides a compelling explanation for continuing to insist that they submit to a test that doesn’t say anything about their football ability, especially since the NFL can’t guarantee that the information won’t be disclosed.  Maybe, in the end, that will prompt the NFL to quit using a test that apparently has no correlation to a guy’s ultimate performance.

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PFT Live 04/03: Sam Farmer, Albert Breer

Mike Florio talks with L.A. Times NFL columnist, Sam Farmer about the proposal for a new stadium in Los Angeles. Florio also talks with NFL Network reporter, Albert Breer about the release of the new Nike uniforms and the tense relationship between the NFL and the NFLPA in the recent Bounty player punishment case.





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Redskins won’t request private workout with Griffin

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On Tuesday morning, Colts owner Jim Irsay disclosed that quarterback Robert Griffin III declined an invitation to conduct a private workout for the team that holds the first pick in the draft.

Griffin won’t get a chance to apply the same treatment to the Redskins, because the Redskins won’t be asking.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Redskins decided against a private workout with Griffin because they saw everything they needed to see on March 21, at his Pro Day workout.

The next question is whether the Redskins will conduct a private workout with Andrew Luck.

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League paid Goodell $11.6 million, NFL Network head $12.2 million

NFL Goodell  Football AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not the league’s highest-paid employee, but he is doing pretty well for himself.

According to the NFL’s IRS Form 990, which the league is required by law to make public, Goodell made $11,554,000 in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2011. That’s a significant bump from the previous year, when he made $9.69 million.

But it doesn’t make Goodell the highest-paid league employee: That honor still belongs to NFL Network chief Steve Bornstein, who made $12.2 million. The NFL owners apparently approved that salary for Bornstein on the theory that television salaries are high, and they had to offer something competitive to get someone they trust to run their network.

Other details from the NFL’s 990, via Darren Rovell of CNBC, include the league spending $11.37 million to rent its New York City office space on Park Avenue, $2.69 million licensing software from Microsoft and paying $8.58 million to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, mostly in the form of deferred payment and retirement benefits.

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PFT Live: Albert Breer and Sam Farmer

Two NFL insiders join Mike Florio on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network will be on to discuss the appeals of the penalties handed down to the Saints by commissioner Roger Goodell. They’ll also talk about the negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA about the penalties to players who were part of the bounty program.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times will join Florio to discuss the efforts to build a stadium in Los Angeles.

You can watch it all live at noon ET.

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Mikel Leshoure hasn’t rescheduled arraignment

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Mikel Leshoure’s arraignment for a marijuana possession charge has turned into a multi-day story and none of the developments look good for the Lions running back.

When Leshoure missed his arraignment on Monday, reports said that he had spoken to the Lions about it and rescheduled the arraignment for Wednesday. Julie Mack of reports that isn’t true, however, and that Leshoure hasn’t made any arrangements to show up at Berrien County District Court. Gary Ruhl, the chief of the Baroda-Lake Township Police Department, told Mack that he informed a member of the Lions that Leshoure hadn’t rescheduled the arraignment.

“He’s a good running back,” Ruhl said. “He’s not good about staying out of trouble in Berrien County.”

Leshoure is charged with a felony, which means he could be facing jail time. He could also be facing a suspension from the NFL. Given all that, you’d think he’d be trying a little harder to make this go away as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

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Seahawks unveil their “new age” uniforms


With the NFL formally unveiling its new line of Nike apparel today, the Seahawks were the team everyone was keeping an eye on, after they promised a “new age” look.

Now we’ve seen what the new-age Seahawks look like: The team’s website has posted a full-scale fashion show of the team’s redesigned gear.

Reactions have been mixed. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley loves them, writing on Twitter, “Seahawks has the best looking Jerseys. THEY ARE SICK!”

But Paul Lukas, the obsessive chronicler of sports uniforms, wrote on the Uni Watch Twitter, “It is SERIOUSLY ugly.”

PFT Planet, tell us where you stand.

Photo credit:

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Greg Schiano says Josh Freeman tried to do too much last year

Josh Freeman, Jason Jones AP

Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman looked like one of the NFL’s rising stars in 2010, throwing 25 touchdown passes and six interceptions as the Bucs went 10-6. Then he looked like one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments in 2011, throwing 16 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions as the Bucs went 4-12. Freeman’s new coach Greg Schiano says his plan for getting Freeman back on track involves getting him to do less.

“Listening to Josh, I get the sense that he tried to make just a little bit too much happen,” Schiano said on NFL Network after the team opened its offseason program on Monday.

In Schiano’s view, Freeman is too hard on himself, and the new coaching staff will be tasked with making sure the whole offense works, and not simply focusing on getting Freeman back to form.

“I don’t think that’s fair — I think that’s a guy that’s putting the brunt of the blame on his own shoulders,” Schiano said. “There were a lot of breakdowns, things that he had no control over. At the end of the day, we’re going to start from scratch. We have a new system, new coaches, new people, and we’re just going to try to build from ground zero, build it up and see where we can go with it.”

A big part of that offensive improvement will be a better running game, which might include drafting Alabama’s Trent Richardson. But Schiano also spoke highly of running back LeGarrette Blount, even though he had put Blount on notice about fumbling, and even though Blount chose not to attend the first day of the Bucs’ voluntary offseason program.

Ultimately, Schiano said, Monday’s first team meeting was about making sure the players know what their new coach expects of them.

“We’re just trying to get them to understand what we expect,” Schiano said. “Most frustration comes from people not being clear what the expectations are.”

And Schiano expects Freeman to get better without trying to do too much.

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Griffin tells Colts “no” to private workout

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OK, where’s my popcorn?

As the Colts prepare to put Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck through a private workout, the other potential first overall pick in the draft has declined an invitation to do the same thing.

Colts owner Jim Irsay says via Twitter that Robert Griffin III has declined an invitation to work out for the team.  Irsay specifically blames the decision on Griffin’s agent, Ben Dogra.  But if Griffin wanted to work out for the Colts, Griffin would be working out for the Colts.

So what does it mean?  Apparently, Griffin has no interest in following Peyton Manning as the quarterback of the Colts.  Instead, Griffin wants to play, apparently, for the Redskins, who hold the second pick in the draft.

And so the power play comes not from the quarterback who went to the same school as the last high-profile quarterback who dissed the Colts.  Instead, the guy who possibly is in position to leapfrog Luck doesn’t want to go to Indy, even if it means being the first overall pick.

It’s also possible that the Griffin camp is completely convinced that Luck will be the pick, regardless of what Griffin would do at a personal workout, and that Griffin isn’t interested in wasting his time.

Either way, Griffin is more than willing to yield the top pick in the draft to Luck, something that under the rookie wage scale means a lot less than it used to.

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Demetrius Bell will visit Packers this week

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Free-agent tackle Demetrius Bell is getting around.  Which means he’s not getting the kind of offer he wants.

His free-agent tour will continue this week with a visit to the Packers, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Bell most recently visited the Steelers and Eagles.  He was a seventh-round pick of the Bills in 2008.

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Titans search for center continues with Dan Koppen

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The Titans have struck out with three free agent centers already this offseason, but they are headed back to the plate one more time.

Dan Koppen will visit with the team this week, according to a report from Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. The Titans have already spent time with Scott Wells, Chris Myers and Jeff Saturday, but all three men wound up signing with other teams. That’s left the Titans with Eugene Amano and they’re clearly not happy with the possibility of heading into next season with Amano as their only choice at the position.

Koppen became a starter in New England in the second game of his rookie season and went on to start 120 times for the Patriots before breaking his ankle in Week One of the 2011 season. He played at a high level in 2010, although being 33 and coming off of a serious injury do create some doubts about Koppen’s ability to remain at that level.

Dan Connolly replaced him and got a new contract this offseason, likely paving Koppen’s way out of New England. Mike Reiss of reports that the Pats offered Koppen a contract before free agency started, but it’s hard to see how he’d fit with Connolly back and Robert Gallery in the fold.

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Spanos excited to see what Le’Ron McClain can do

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Alper linked earlier this morning in the one-liners to an interview of Chargers owner Dean Spanos.  Since I actually read the one-liners (for a change) and was interested in seeing what Spanos had to say, I clicked the link and checked it out.

Though there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering, I was intrigued to see the new arrival who most intrigues Spanos:  Former Ravens and Chiefs fullback Le’Ron McClain.

“I’m excited about all of them and I’m not trying to pick any favorite, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Le’Ron McClain can do and how he can help us,” Spanos said.  “He’s an exciting character.  Very charismatic.  I think he’s going to be a great addition to our team and he will be exciting for our fans to watch.”

Other new arrivals for the Chargers include receiver Robert Meachem, receiver Eddie Royal, linebacker Jarret Johnson.

Spanos also addressed the departures of receiver Vincent Jackson and running back Mike Tolbert, who reportedly took less money to join the Panthers.

“Those are two players we would love to have had back,” Spanos said.  “We surely made an attempt to get those players signed, but there comes a point where if you sometimes sign one player, you might limit yourself and your ability to get a host of other important players.  It’s a balancing act and you have to decide what’s most important and what will make the best impact on the team going forward.  Speaking specifically of Vincent, we clearly would’ve loved to have him back, but he chose to move on.  If we had signed him, I think it would’ve really limited our ability to sign four or five of the free agents that we did get.”

Spanos is right, but the question is whether those four or five free agents will mean more to the team than one Vincent Jackson.

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Robert Griffin III emulates Manning, Brady in fooling defenses

Robert Griffin III of the Baylor Bears Getty Images

Robert Griffin III, Baylor’s Heisman Trophy winner who is expected to become a Washington Redskin as the second overall pick in the NFL draft, has the talent to make plays with pure speed like few quarterbacks in football history. But Griffin wants to make clear that he’s entering the NFL with a plan to use his brain and his arm more than he uses his legs.

During ESPN’s QB Camp session with Jon Gruden, Griffin broke down his own tape of Baylor’s win over Oklahoma, and he seemed particularly proud of a play when he hurried his teammates to the line and quickly called for a snap to catch Oklahoma with 12 men on the field.

“They’ve got a D-lineman running off the field — he’s tired,” Griffin said. “I feel like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, those guys, when they catch those guys getting off the field they’re like, ‘We need to snap the ball because we’re gonna get five free yards.'”

That was music to the ears of Gruden, who responded, “This gets my motor running. This gets my heart pumping. I love this.”

Griffin emphasized that he views himself as a quarterback who can read defenses and make all the throws, but who just happens to be a former track star who was viewed as a potential Olympic hurdler before he decided to focus full-time on football. When Gruden asked him if he thinks he’ll be the fastest quarterback in NFL history, Griffin answered, “I don’t like talking about myself like that.”

“I can throw with the best of them as well,” Griffin said. “I believe in my arm and I believe I could be a quarterback even if I didn’t have the speed that I do.”

The speed is a nice bonus, but it doesn’t define Griffin as a quarterback.

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Sheet drops on new Nike uniforms at 11:00 a.m. ET


Never before has the NFL enjoyed so much anticipation for a shift in uniform supplier.  Of course, never before has the NFL launched a 10-year partnership with a shoe and apparel company that has developed a reputation for outside-the-box uniform designs.

And the anticipation comes in relatively equal measure from those who fear dramatic changes to NFL uniforms — and those who welcome them.

The answers will be known soon enough.  At 11:00 a.m. ET in Brooklyn, the NFL will roll out the new Nike uniforms.  The one thing known for sure is that the Seahawks look and colors will be revised.

It’s also known that the Panthers have altered their logos.  As suggested in this leaked photo posted at, there’s a chance the new logo will appear on a new helmet.  (It’s unknown whether that actually is an image of the new Panthers helmet, whether it’s a fake, or whether it’s a helmet that will be used with an alternate uniform.)

For the most part, changes will be made not to the look but to the composition of the jerseys.  The primary opportunity for creativity will come from the alternate uniforms, which teams may wear up to twice per year.  The Steelers and Rams, at a minimum, are expected to make changes to their alternate looks.

We’ll know much more at 11:00 a.m. ET.  Stay tuned to PFT for any relevant links and photos.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

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Mary Owen, the Bills’ executive vice president of strategic planning, will now oversee the team’s community relations department as well.

The Dolphins will host three different draft parties for their fans.

Defense looks like the order of the day for the Patriots in the draft.

Jets TE Dustin Keller thinks there will be a friendly competition between Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez.

The Ravens have shifted their focus from free agency to the draft.

Bengals T Andrew Whitworth likes where the team is right now.

It’s going to be a busy week of pre-draft visits for the Browns.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks the Steelers should draft a running back.

Offseason signings bolstered the Texans secondary last season.

Colts owner Jim Irsay boasted of 100 percent participation on the first day of offseason workouts.

Jaguars DE Aaron Kampman says that his knees feel better than it did this time last year.

The Titans agreed to terms with special-teams ace Tim Shaw on a new contract.

UConn DT Kendall Reyes could fit the Broncos’ needs in the first round.

The Chiefs have plenty of options with the 11th overall pick.

LB Philip Wheeler said the amount of fan response he got on Twitter helped convince him to sign with the Raiders.

Chargers president Dean Spanos sat down for an interview with the team’s website.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News doesn’t think Cowboys QB Tony Romo has ever been a good leader.

South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffrey met with the Giants on Monday.

A breakdown of Eagles T King Dunlap’s previous NFL starts.

Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson did not have hip surgery in February because of a setback in his recovery.

The Bears feel better about the league’s kickoff rules a year after fighting against their implementation.

A look at whether or not North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins is worth the risk for the Lions in the draft.

Packers DL Anthony Hargrove has a big supporter in Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson.

The Vikings signed WR Bryan Walters, who spent parts of the last two seasons with the Chargers.

Andy Benoit of the New York Times thinks the Falcons should upgrade at safety.

The Panthers have started rolling out their new logo.

An argument against Bill Parcells stepping in to coach the Saints.

Said Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano of the first day of offseason work, “To finally be able to talk to the team as a group and to talk about football, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t fly out of bed this morning, excited to go.”

Value has been the most important thing for the Cardinals in free agency.

Said Torry Holt, who will retire as a member of the Rams on Wednesday, “The fans and the city of St. Louis have been so good to me. I feel very fortunate that I was able to come to St. Louis and be surrounded by so many outstanding players and coaches. This is where it all started, and it’s fitting that this is also where it ends.”

Northwestern State CB Jeremy Lane will have a pre-draft visit with the 49ers.

Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch started filming the movie that marks his debut as an actor.

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Redskins remove 4,000 seats from FedEx Field

2011 NFL Draft Getty Images

Redskins home attendance has declined with the team’s winning percentage in recent years, and as demand for tickets decreases, the Redskins are also decreasing the supply of seats.

The Washington Post reports that the Redskins are again reducing the size of FedEx Field, with the removal of 4,000 additional seats.

The team says the reduction of seats will make room for an upper level “party deck” and the renovation of the fifth-floor suite areas, which will give fans a better experience at the stadium.

But there will be fewer fans experiencing Redskins home games. In 2010 the capacity at FedEx Field was 91,000, in 2011 it was 83,000 and this season it will be 79,000.

There was a time when there was virtually no limit to the number of tickets the Redskins could sell, but that time is in the past. The Redskins have yet to make the playoffs in the four seasons since Joe Gibbs left, and they missed the playoffs in 10 of the 11 seasons since between the two Gibbs coaching tenures. That kind of losing frustrates even the most enthusiastic of fan bases.

Maybe Robert Griffin III is the man to change that.

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Claiborne gives birth to a four on the Wonderlic

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The NFL has kept the Wonderlic results under tighter wraps than usual this year.  Or maybe the media has had enough other things to keep itself occupied.

Regardless, the first eye-opening score has leaked from the 2012 edition of the 50-question Wonderlic test.  Per multiple league sources, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a four.

Yes.  A four.  Out of 50.

Six years ago, quarterback Vince Young initially got a six.  Re-scoring of the test bumped it to a seven.  A next-day Mulligan moved it to 13.

Finally, Young has someone at whom he can point and laugh.

The joke, however, continues to be on anyone who thinks that all college athletes are also students.  Plenty of them aren’t.  They’re minor-league football players who have no choice but to wait at least three years until they get a shot at joining the NFL.

How else can anyone explain a person who presumably has found a way to avoid failing out of college getting such a low score on a basic intelligence test?

And that gives rise to a more important question.  What did LSU actually do to keep Claiborne from failing out of school?

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