The diagnosis of an irregular heartbeat resulted in a draft-day(s) plunge for former Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, dropping him all the way to round five, where the recently-risk-taking Raiders took a chance on him with the 140th overall pick. Hurst is miffed than no one called him sooner.
“Thirty-one teams didn’t want me and just take that and let it motivate me every game that I play,” Hurst recently told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via RaidersBeat.com. “Just work and make teams regret that.”
No matter how good Hurst becomes, teams likely won’t regret making the safe choice medically. Hurst has an irregular heartbeat. Hurst will predictably try to downplay it, but he has a health condition that gives teams legitimate concerns about his ability to have an extended and meaningful NFL career.
“Just an irregular heartbeat,” Hurst said. “I don’t think it’s anything of concern for myself or any other team. So, the Raiders, it’s something we have to get checked up every year and just make sure everything’s good.”
So what happens if next year’s checkup is the one that results in a finding that he can’t continue? Or the next? What if a real problem is detected and Hurst decides he wants to keep playing, and he finds a doctor to clear him? Can the Raiders or any team afford to risk a Reggie Lewis-type situation?
For now, the risk seems to be that Hurst at some point won’t be cleared to keep playing, and nothing worse. Still, that was a risk that plenty of other teams didn’t want to take.