It’s been speculated this offseason that the Dallas Cowboys might covet University of Georgia running back Todd Gurley, especially if reigning NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray ends up playing elsewhere in 2015 – it’s not like the franchise can count on backup Joseph Randle.
I wouldn’t place any money on Gurley landing in Dallas, period.
At this point, I’m not exactly sure that Gurley might not find himself being drafted early in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft beginning April 30 in Chicago.
The reasons for this theory of mine can be illustrated by certain facts which already pertain to the most widely discussed Cowboys player at this very moment: Wide receiver Dez Bryant.
I’m sure that you’re all too familiar with the Bryant saga that’s unfolding. The Pro Bowl talent is an unrestricted free- agent that seems to want well more money than he’s worth and he appears to be rather pissed that Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones hasn’t handed him the moon already.
There’s a mixed bag of similarities and differences between these two players, their respective positions being the most glaring of the latter. Still, there’s similarities that might not bode very well for Gurley’s prospects with America’s Team.
To start with, Gurley, like Bryant was in 2010, is seen as the best college prospect at his position. Some even suggest that the former Bulldog rusher might be special, and those that do might be right.
But there is a growing list of concerns about Gurley that will be responsible for his potentially dramatic tumble from top-15 selection status in the coming player selection meeting.
While Gurley’s potential in the NFL isn’t really questioned, talent-wise, there is that ACL injury suffered last November that likely will keep him out of action for the entire offseason and possibly part of the coming regular season.
Moving beyond this injury is where things might become a lot less attractive for Jones and possibly head coach Jason Garrett, who figures to have plenty of say so in these matters moving forward.
Gurley wasn’t expected to do much at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which is unfolding right now. After all, an ACL injury, under the best of conditions, is generally a year-long recovery process.
Yet it was rather odd that Gurley wouldn’t even allow NFL executives to as much as look at his injured knee at Lucas Oil Stadium this week. There could be multiple reasons for this but it’s important to remember that the combine was actually invented for this kind of thing, among others.
How exactly would Jones and the Dallas brass know what condition this guy is in while also considering him as a rather urgent replacement for Murray?
Here’s where some of those similarities to Bryant come into play, and these could very well be a deal-breaker for the Cowboys, at least if we’re to believe the rumor mill.
Gurley, in addition to the injury last season, was also suspended for accepting money for autographs – yes, another one of those – and ended up missing another four games before the injury.
Sound like someone you remember? Like maybe somebody from Oklahoma State University?
Granted, Bryant’s NCAA suspension was much ado about nothing, especially seeing as how it was none of the organization’s business what his relationship was or was not with Deion Sanders. I really don’t even care that he lied about it either, yet this didn’t do him any favors where character perception is concerned.
In Gurley’s case, it was even more detrimental and profoundly illegal. This player, easily the most important on his team, thought that accepting $3,000 for autographs was the right thing to do. Gurley offered the following to SI.com this week from scouting combine:
"Just man up to my mistakes. I made a dumb mistake and I suffered the consequences. I had to move on from that, but just show them that I’m a great person at the end of the day."
What does that mean?
Couldn’t his representation get a little more creative or endearing than that? I mean, we’re talking about $3000 is all, right? I might understand if somebody funneled him a cool $25 million or something, but only three grand?
And no, you’re not a “great person” when you let down not only your team but an entire athletic department that’s already invested – well, more than $3,000 on your mere presence as a Bulldogs football player.
No, I’m not a fan of the draconian and grossly outdated NCAA by any means, but when you agree to play by the rules then you kind of need to do that. In failing to do so, people question your motivation, intentions, integrity and so forth.
I understand naivety to an extent, but not outright stupidity.
Perhaps the biggest issue surrounding Gurley’s playing for the Cowboys could even be his chosen representation as a soon-to-be professional athlete.
Gurley has signed on with Roc Nation, the wet-behind-the-ears sports agency firm founded by rapper Jay Z. Let’s just say that if this organization offers up the same quality as this performers “music,” things might not be too attractive to a multi-billion dollar power like the NFL.
In fact, there are those that believe that part of Bryant’s difficulty in landing a long-term deal with the Cowboys has a lot to do with Bryant having recently joined Roc Nation after his own game of musical chairs with sports agents during his relatively brief professional career.
Whether or not Jones really cares about this development that much remains to be seen, but you can’t really blame him for possibly being adverse to dealing with a legal representation group who’s founder writes lyrics like those found in the track “99 Problems.”
Gurley might not have the same number of problems and it’s possible that he’ll have a brilliant NFL career where ever he ends up playing – just don’t expect that destination to be Dallas is all I’m saying.