INDIANAPOLIS -- There are 12 players from USC at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, which makes it the most represented school here. Eleven of the Trojans are seniors, so we know why they're here.
But what about Chilo Rachal?
|Chilo Rachal's choice was easy -- money and NFL over another year of school. (Getty Images)|
Addressing the subject for the first time, he said he's going pro not because he wants to but because he has to. That may need some explaining, and explaining is what Rachal did when he sat down with some of the 500 accredited media members here.
Essentially, Rachal said he's leaving USC to pay medical expenses for his 39-year-old mother and 64-year-old father. His mother, Veronica Pickett, has a stomach tumor that, Rachal said, is "the size of a six-month-old baby" and requires treatment. Treatment means medical bills, and bills mean insurance.
She doesn't have it, Rachal said.
His father, Charles Rachal, works construction and has, his son said, a history that includes two hernias and tendonitis in his knee. The hernias were treated. The tendonitis continues. So do the bills, Rachal said, which means insurance can be an issue for him, too.
He doesn't have it, either, and I think you can see where this is going.
"Basically," Rachal said, "I have no choice. I have to do something for my family."
A two-year starter, Rachal is one of the top guards in this year's draft, but guards typically aren't high picks. Rachal should be a first-day choice, but had he stayed in school another year he almost surely would have increased his draft standing.
Only staying, he insisted, wasn't an option.
"I love my mother, and I'm doing the best thing I can to put her in a better situation," he said. "She's my motivation every day I wake up."
Rachal made that clear in front of a captivated audience on the first day of player interviews with the media. What was less certain was the severity of his mother's condition or the input that his head coach, Pete Carroll, had in the decision.