Les Snead attributes Pead’s “miserable” rookie season to exams rule

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So why was Rams 2012 second-round running back Isaiah Pead “miserable” as a rookie?

He was miserable because he didn’t play much.  He didn’t play much because he slid behind seventh-round running back Daryl Richardson on the depth chart.

And Pead slid behind Richardson in part because, as Rams G.M. Les Snead explained it during Thursday’s PFT Live, Pead wasn’t available for OTAs due to the rule that prevents rookies from joining their teams until after final exams have ended at their respective colleges.

Richardson’s presence, coupled with Pead’s absence, gave Richardson a head start he never relinquished.  This year, with both guys present for all of the offseason program and Steven Jackson gone, Pead could close the gap considerably.

To his credit, Snead didn’t complain about the rule.  But we will.  It’s outdated and unrealistic.  Pead, for example, wasn’t even in school for the semester that culminated in final exams that kept him away from his new job, to his obvious detriment.  Most draft-eligible players leave school for the spring semester prior to the draft, because getting ready for the draft becomes their full-time occupation.

The NFL should realize that the rule does nothing to help the colleges, and that it will do nothing to undermine the relationship between the league and its free farm system.  The NFL’s apparent reluctance to change the rule, however, demonstrates the extent to which pro football tiptoes on eggshells when it comes to college football.

While in some contexts it makes sense not to piss off the Sabans of the college-football word, the rule could in a roundabout way hurt the schools whose players are frozen out of offseason workouts in their rookie years.

Indeed, if I’m the recruiting coordinator at a school that competes with Cincinnati for players, I’m printing this story off, laminating it, and making sure it gets incorporated into every in-home visit.

14 responses to “Les Snead attributes Pead’s “miserable” rookie season to exams rule

  1. Weak excuse. The 2011 class showed us just how overrated OTAs are. They aren’t useless but they are no excuse for putting forth a terrible season like Pead did.

  2. Sounds to me like he is a slow learner, many have done it and succeeded before him. He was spending time playing video games.

  3. Well said Mike, and the time is well past for a change in this rule. When is the NFL ever going to get its head straight on everything for once?

  4. Could not agree more Mike. If I were a kid’s parent or advisor and thought he had a shot at the NFL one day I would tell him to run from any school using the quarters system. If not, you’re probably gonna redshirt your rookie season.

  5. Mike, any coach who prints, laminates and incorporates this article into every in-home visit with players being recruited by UC, would be about a year too late to the party. This past academic year, Cincinnati moved from Quarters to Semesters. In the past, UC would not be done with final exams until mid-June. However, now that they have moved to Semesters, the Bearcats have already completed both their final exams and all graduation ceremonies. Since finals now preclude any NFL OTA’s, this makes your suggestion to Cincinnati’s recruiting foes a complete non-factor now and in the future. Good job. Good effort.

  6. This is just an excuse. Andrew Luck succeeded. It matters of who the player is and how much work the player puts in. The agents can get people to prepare the players. OTAs are important, but missing them doesn’t make a player fail. Its the player themselves.

  7. Tsk tsk, I seem to recall Andrew Luck performing quite well as a rookie despite falling victim to the same rule. Believe there is also a bit more to learn as a QB than as a RB.

  8. 1. Teams could modify their off-season schedule.
    2. Instead of leaving their college for the spring quarter, perhaps players could transfer to a semester-based school just so they can get the new school’s exam date attached to them.

  9. The rule does not apply to those players that have already graduated. Why not ask Pead why he could not have already graduated after 4 years in school? He had 3.5 years of regular terms, plus almost all (if not all) football players also take summer classes as they stay on campus to work with the strength coaches. Where I went to school a large percentage of players that stay 4 years graduate in December of their senior year because they took 4 years of summer school.

  10. baselman and jimbo, totally a different circumstance pead while a second round pick was going to have to fight for reps with steven Jackson even if Richardson hadn’t got the jump on him plus luck was not only number one he was there to beat out painter or?? whoever not a running back that rushed for over 1000 yrs nine consecutive years a very unfair comparison and as for the video game remark pead was talking about how he went home after the season and played video games not after practice like you make it sound . if you want to put the kid down do so but at least get your FACTS straight

  11. “to his obvious detriment”

    Saying a things doesn’t make it so. You’re telling us that this kid has been playing the game since he was in diapers and a few missed practices made that big a difference? No way …

  12. The NCAA would never let this rule change. It keeps the charade of collegiate athletes being amateurs even as the universities profit from their free labor

  13. All the Stanford and Oregon kids go thru this. I don’t see them having such problems.

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