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Harnish had a deal with Chargers before Colts drafted him

Chandler+Harnish+Wisconsin+v+Northern+Illinois+NF_GfrlcKrDl Getty Images

The rules regarding discussions with players who may not be draft are pretty clear.  Before and during the picks process, there can be contact and expressions of interest but no negotiations.

In a video of comments from Chandler Harnish a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant that has been posted on YouTube, the former Northern Illinois quarterback says that, as the draft was winding down, he was being pressured by the Chargers to commit to signing with them once the draft ended — and that Harnish’s plan to sign him as a free agent forced the Colts to use the last pick in the draft to get him.

“I was getting calls from like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, just a bunch of teams were — and I’m talking to my agent every three minutes,” Harnish explains.  “It looked like we were about ready to set up a free agency deal.  I was ready to go to San Diego . . . .

“They wanted the decision 10 minutes after they could put the deal on the table, and this was still at pick 240,” Harnish says.  “So there were still 13 picks to go.  And they put the deal on the table that they wanted me to be a free agent and I had to say ‘yes’ to it. . . .  We tell San Diego we want that deal.  Well, my agent tells the Colts, ‘Hey, he’s going to San Diego if you don’t draft him with your last pick.’  So because of that the Colts were like, ‘We want him.  We want to take him before he goes to free agency, and then he goes to San Diego.’”

That’s as close to a team getting caught with its hand in the cookie jar as we’ll ever see, short of having the team admit to negotiating with a player before the draft ends.  In this case, look for Harnish if/when asked about his words to backtrack and clarify and if necessary claim he misspoke.  That’s usually how it goes when players admit that there were negotiations before the draft ended.  For now, it’s pretty clear that’s what happened here.

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32 Responses to “Harnish had a deal with Chargers before Colts drafted him”
  1. jacobslatter says: Apr 29, 2012 9:37 PM

    Inquiring minds want to know if Vontaze Burfict got similar treatment.

  2. joetoronto says: Apr 29, 2012 9:43 PM

    Only the lord of no rings could strike out on Mr Irrelevant.

  3. dietrich43 says: Apr 29, 2012 9:43 PM

    I hope that AJ Smith gets taken to Mr. Goodell’s woodshed. And this highlights why they need to change the UDFA signing system. Putting a 24 or 48 hour break between the end of the draft and UDFA signings wouldn’t hurt. Let the teams contact players, let them know they’re interested, maybe even negotiate terms, but not execute the contract.

  4. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 29, 2012 9:44 PM

    Those sneaky chargers!!!!

  5. philvil41 says: Apr 29, 2012 9:46 PM

    Let the Chargers sign anybody they want,they will still SUCK!

  6. shrike3000 says: Apr 29, 2012 9:49 PM

    Chargers should lose two 2nd round picks, AJ Smith suspended 8 games, Norv Turner suspended for the year.

  7. raenray2 says: Apr 29, 2012 10:00 PM

    What the chargers did isn’t as bad as the saints putting bounties on players and u want to give then the same penalties that they got. And the saints did it for years even after they were warned to stop. All the chargers will get is a fine. I can see them getting nothing and maybe a print out of the UDFA rules faxed to them just so they don’t have an excuse next time. Godell is known for given warnings. It’s after the warnings you will get hit up big.

  8. thehawg says: Apr 29, 2012 10:03 PM

    Please change the rule, teams have been doing this for years. Only makes the process more interesting.

  9. chawk12thman says: Apr 29, 2012 10:07 PM

    What is the actual definition of deal or negotiations? Are they prohibited from having an offer on the table prior to the end of the draft?

  10. arlingtonsynn says: Apr 29, 2012 10:27 PM

    Griggs has been very impressive so far for the Colts. Indianapolis did very well in the draft and still managed to save a pick to screw with AJ Smith’s shady ass.

  11. supert1978 says: Apr 29, 2012 10:34 PM

    Nothing new here. Against the rules but it happens. Makes me question the kids intelligence openly discussing it.

  12. jwreck says: Apr 29, 2012 10:50 PM

    What the chargers did isn’t as bad as the saints putting bounties on players and u want to give then the same penalties that they got. And the saints did it for years even after they were warned to stop. All the chargers will get is a fine. I can see them getting nothing and maybe a print out of the UDFA rules faxed to them just so they don’t have an excuse next time. Godell is known for given warnings. It’s after the warnings you will get hit up big.
    ____________________
    Are you joking? No, seriously, I hope you are, because everyone else was, and that would be some really great deadpan sarcasm on your part if you were. However I’m pretty sure you weren’t kidding, and were seriously trying to explain to everybody why the Saints putting bounties on players was more serious than San Diego making plans with Mr. Irrelevant in case he was not drafted. I have no words.

  13. dlr4skins says: Apr 29, 2012 11:01 PM

    No reason to punish the teams for such dubious claims and petty crimes unless of coarse you are the two largest revenue generating teams like the REDSKINS and COWBOYS.

    This case is a written rule unlike the “capless capped year” rule.

    Did you hear the boos for Goodell? Wow, notice how both networks ignored them and did the best to kill the crowd mikes?

  14. damaddhatter29 says: Apr 29, 2012 11:08 PM

    I smell controversy. Could Mr. Irrelevant beat out Mr. #1 overall? This shouldn’t happen, but I always like the underdogs.

  15. go9ers says: Apr 29, 2012 11:22 PM

    Harnish’s agent did him no favors by telling the Colts to draft him. He goes from having his choice of several teams, and likely more money, to having to play for the worst team in the league. What was his agent thinking?

  16. teamgoku says: Apr 30, 2012 12:30 AM

    The chargers should lose at least one pick for this and not a high pick I mean like 5th or 6th round pick and a small fine like $50,000 or so should do it

  17. yssupasigninnamnotyep says: Apr 30, 2012 12:49 AM

    Is Harnish like a 14 year-old girl?

    Like you know…they were going to sign me, but you know like my agent said…but you know, like this other team wanted me but I was like no I don’t know for sure, but like if you come back later I might like to want to talk like to you for sure.

    Like seriously? For Mr. Irrelevant you waste a story on this? Like really?

  18. johanneschimpo says: Apr 30, 2012 2:25 AM

    Prove it.

  19. ambitoos says: Apr 30, 2012 3:09 AM

    This is one of the most aggresive years that I’ve seen from the Chargers. Jobs are on the line, that’s why.

  20. catquick says: Apr 30, 2012 3:55 AM

    I wish he would have signed, and then got drafted. The Ralph Kramden homina-homina tongue tie would have been hilarious to watch.

  21. fmwarner says: Apr 30, 2012 4:19 AM

    jwreck says: Apr 29, 2012 10:50 PM

    What the chargers did isn’t as bad as the saints putting bounties on players and u want to give then the same penalties that they got. And the saints did it for years even after they were warned to stop. All the chargers will get is a fine. I can see them getting nothing and maybe a print out of the UDFA rules faxed to them just so they don’t have an excuse next time. Godell is known for given warnings. It’s after the warnings you will get hit up big.
    ____________________
    Are you joking? No, seriously, I hope you are, because everyone else was, and that would be some really great deadpan sarcasm on your part if you were. However I’m pretty sure you weren’t kidding, and were seriously trying to explain to everybody why the Saints putting bounties on players was more serious than San Diego making plans with Mr. Irrelevant in case he was not drafted. I have no words.
    ===============================

    Are YOU joking? That response feels like trolling, because I can’t imagine anyone seriously thinking the Chargers’ possible offense here could be even near as bad as the Saints’.

  22. mikebe1 says: Apr 30, 2012 4:27 AM

    Didn’t bill polian admit that his teams kept in contact with potential udfa’s during the draft?rewatch the draft and you will see.

  23. applecool1981 says: Apr 30, 2012 4:32 AM

    shrike3000 says: Apr 29, 2012 9:49 PM

    “Chargers should lose two 2nd round picks, AJ Smith suspended 8 games, Norv Turner suspended for the year.”

    I found this funny and thumbs upped it. Now, lets analyze it (lol); this time lets give the GM the year suspension and the coach the 8 game to shake it up a little. hehe!

  24. fin72 says: Apr 30, 2012 8:11 AM

    Here’s a simple solution to the undrafted free agent process/problems… Add a few more rounds to the draft and it will keep things a lot more orderly.

  25. jmsincla says: Apr 30, 2012 8:37 AM

    This goes against ‘the spirit of the draft.’ Dock ‘em 36 mil Mara!

  26. hoosiermizuno says: Apr 30, 2012 8:41 AM

    i think its becoming more clear that the rules in the NFL are no different than the IRS and tax rules. Teams will do everything they can to either get around them or not get caught, but to think that teams aren’t trying to cheat the system is naive.

  27. realitypolice says: Apr 30, 2012 8:47 AM

    Player says he was misquoted, team and agent deny, story dead by noon.

  28. sullijo1 says: Apr 30, 2012 9:55 AM

    Will the Chargers be the off-season “Paper Champion” again this year?

  29. jaialaicharger says: Apr 30, 2012 1:11 PM

    “I was getting calls from like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, just a bunch of teams were ”

    Calm down folks, all teams do it. Why punish the Chargers because he wanted to sign with them.

  30. bleedgreen says: Apr 30, 2012 1:54 PM

    jaialaicharger says: Apr 30, 2012 1:11 PM

    “I was getting calls from like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, just a bunch of teams were ”

    Calm down folks, all teams do it. Why punish the Chargers because he wanted to sign with them.
    ——————-

    Stating interest, and giving someone an ultimatum to make a decision before the draft is even over are 2 different things.

  31. icanspeel says: Apr 30, 2012 4:14 PM

    I dunno to me it seems the Colts got the advantage since they knew if they didn’t draft him they wouldn’t get him since once undrafted he could go wherever he wants, he wasn’t bound to sign with the Chargers, but sounds like he wanted to.

  32. detroitlionsnfl says: May 5, 2012 11:57 AM

    I dont understand why there’d be any pressure on Harnish to change his story and lie. He’s is not the one that’s in violation of the rules and he’s with another team. All the lying needs to stop.

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