Not every team puts a potential third-round pick in front of the owner for a pre-draft interview. But not every team flushed $13.1 million down the drain on a player who didn’t play for a year because of a domestic violence arrest.
The Panthers went above and beyond the normal vetting with third-round cornerback Daryl Worley of West Virginia, specifically because he was involved in a battery charge involving a woman at a bar near campus in 2014.
That’s obviously a sensitive issue for the Panthers after enduring the fallout from franchise-tagged defensive end Greg Hardy, who only played one game in 2014 and was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list after an incident with his then-girlfriend.
“Do you guys think that for one moment, after what happened in 2014, I’m going to do something stupid? I mean, come on,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “We’re going to thoroughly investigate every kid that gets involved in situations like this. And again, I want to say for the 15th time, he was not charged with domestic violence. He was not.
“Obviously we don’t take it lightly. Listen, I’m married and I’ve got a daughter. Anybody lays a glove on them, they’re going to have one fat, cranky, old man running down the street.”
Worley was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2014, after a woman accused him of of grabbing her around the neck and pushing her to the ground. But he contended he was trying to protect his girlfriend from the woman who wanted to fight. He eventually pleaded no contest and received a six-month suspended sentence, and was suspended two games by the football team.
“It was a simple situation where it was wrong place at the wrong time. There were nothing malicious about the incident,” Worley said. “All 32 teams have seen the videotape. They have the official court documents which I gave to them where there was nothing malicious about it.
“I did my due diligence as far as the court required me, and honestly, it is just behind me in the past. It is expunged from my record, and I am looking to move forward. Nothing like that is ever going to be a problem heading forward.”
But because of their background with Hardy, the Panthers weren’t going to stop at taking his word for it. In addition to viewing the surveillance tape, they brought Worley in for a pre-draft visit and had him meet with owner Jerry Richardson.
If they were even going to take anything resembling a chance on a player who would stir those disturbing echoes, it wouldn’t be on a third-round pick. And if that third-rounder would have had any other kind of charges, they probably wouldn’t have bothered the owner with it.