Jaylon Ferguson's agents push back on combine disinvite, a decision that has many scratching their heads
An incident that's been called 'a disagreement between two teenagers' caused Ferguson's combine invite to be pulled
Representatives for draft-eligible prospect Jaylon Ferguson have responded to the NFL combinewith a strongly worded statement. The decision to keep Ferguson from the league's annual scouting meeting, which will be held in Indianapolis later this month, has drawn derision from many in the front offices of teams, as well as within the agent community.
Ferguson, a defensive end out of Louisiana Tech, was involved in an incident as an 18-year old that resulted in a deferred judgment and a $189 fine. He continued his college career without any other violent incidents.
Teams would generally want to use the combine as a time to find out more information on such matters and ask the player directly about the issue. The combine has enforced stricter rules in recent years seeking to bar players if background checks reveal a "conviction for a felony or misdemeanor involving violence."
Ferguson's agents, Peter Schaffer and Safarrah Lawson, released the following statement on Thursday:
"We disagree with the NFL's position to rescind the invitation to attend the combine with regards to Jaylon Ferguson. Jaylon is a quality player and better person who made a mistake four years ago before he even started playing college football. He was involved in a scuffle in 2015 that resulted in him to being charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He received a deferred judgment and $189 fine. A proper punishment for a disagreement between two teenagers.
"Since that day Jaylon has been a model and upstanding student athlete that personifies the things we are trying to teach our young people today. The past four years at Louisiana Tech, Jaylon has been a team leader who has led on and off the field, clearly learning from the lessons of the past. As opposed to penalizing and vilifying the future players of the league, we would hope the league would allow Jaylon and other similarly situated players the opportunity to prove to potential employers that they are remorseful, have learned from their mistakes, accepted responsibility, want to be good role models and are better people now for it.
"No person is perfect, and people are entitled to second chances and opportunities, and one would hope the NFL as a leader in the industry, open minded and a diverse league and business would want to see the best in their players, educate them and help them mature, learn and be better people."
The backlash on decisions like this could continue into the combine. As one NFL agent put it, "Would the combine even think to disinvite (Cardinals GM) Steve Keim (who spent time in jail for extreme DUI before last season)? Tell me what I'm missing?" With players such as Ferguson eligible to be drafted, and the NFL not restricting his ability to join its workforce this spring, the effectiveness of this standard for the combine continues to baffle many involved in the process.
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