We’ve noted many times that Janoris Jenkins, a talented cornerback who was kicked off the team at Florida and finished college at North Alabama, has so many off-field red flags that some teams think he’s just not worth the risk. But one Pro Football Hall of Famer argues that it’s OK to have some guys with character questions on your roster.
Michael Irvin believes teams can go overboard with their focus on character, to the point where they’re hurting themselves by passing up on elite talent.
“You can’t play a game like football with all choir boys,” Irvin told USA Today. “You need somebody that is a Janoris Jenkins. The issue is, the proclivity to make some bad decisions might live within him. But, he will make some great plays on the field. When you draft a guy like this you have to give him the right support, and then he could be the steal of the draft.”
Irvin thinks it’s natural for great football players to live their lives on the edge. They just need a support system to keep them from going over the edge.
“A cornerback like that with that attitude and that skill set is a rare find in this league,” Irvin said. “It takes some kind of psychological instability to do what they do. Some guy just went 80 yards on you and you’ve got to turn right around and step up like you’re still the baddest man in the world. Him being crazy, I like. I just don’t want him being crazy and making bad decisions off the field.”
Irvin’s own career serves as an example that a guy who has elite talent on the field can be worth occasional trouble off the field.