Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is not at the Scouting Combine. Former Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook is.
Given Westbrook’s history of off-field incidents, some league insiders have pointed to that inconsistency when attacking the rule that kept Mixon out. On Friday, Westbrook explained the differences between himself and Mixon.
“I got in some trouble and I did some things as well, but I was never convicted of anything,” Westbrook told reporters, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “Like, I’ve been to jail, but all the charges [were] dropped. I have no pending charges or anything. So I think I’m just like you.”
If by “just like you” he means being accused in 2012 of throwing the mother of his two children to the ground, he’s not “just like” most of “you.” If by “just like you” he means being accused in 2013 biting her arm and punching her in the face, same. Likewise if by “just like you” he means being arrested for criminal trespass in 2016.
Asked is he ever committed assault in 2012 or 2013, Westbrook said, “No. Never.”
The fact that Westbrook was never convicted of assault or pleaded guilty to it explains why he’s at the Scouting Combine. However, if the NFL is going to reject the outcome of the criminal justice system and do its own investigation when deciding whether to discipline current players for violations of the Personal Conduct Policy, shouldn’t the same thing happen if the NFL is going to exclude prospects from its annual job fair?
It’s another reason why players should be invited based on talent and not background, allowing the teams to evaluate the background of all players with question marks in one place at one time.