Indianapolis • Alec Ogletree passes the eye test for an NFL linebacker.
All he has to do now is prove he’s worth the risk.
Ogletree has had his share of problems since arriving at Georgia, a list that includes a four-game suspension to start last season for an undisclosed violation of team rules and last weekend’s DUI arrest. When he showed up to take reporters’ questions Saturday, the fourth day of the league’s annual scouting combine, the first five questions were about his past mistakes.
"I don’t really know what it’s going to do, but like I said, I feel bad about it and I’m really sorry about it," Ogletree said. "I just have to move forward and take what I get."
Ogletree isn’t the only one facing these sorts of questions.
Manti Te’o faced a crowded room of reporters to explain how he had been duped into an Internet romance he had with a girlfriend he never met. He did his best to turn the page on an embarrassing chapter by talking football.
He answered every question with thoughtful deliberation and tried to provide clarity on a hoax that turned one of the nation’s most inspirational college football players into the butt of national jokes.
"I cared for somebody. That’s what I was taught to do ever since I was young. Somebody needs help, you help them out," Te’o said.
Later he added: "People doubted me because I took a while to come out. From our point of view, we wanted to let everything come out first, and then let my side come out. The way we did it, I thought, worked best for me."
Te’o’s news conference was the most anticipated event of the weekend, which brought the makeshift media room inside Lucas Oil Stadium to a virtual standstill.
Also facing questions are two former SEC players — receiver Da’Rick Rogers and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu — who have acknowledged they tested positive for drugs in college. Tennessee and LSU, respectively, kicked Rogers and Mathieu off their teams.
Then there’s the strange saga of Armonty Bryant, a defensive lineman from East Central University, a Division II school in Oklahoma, who will spend this weekend explaining his arrest on a felony charge of marijuana distribution in a school zone. He said an officer spotted him selling marijuana to a friend in the back lot of the school dorms.
Bryant was called out of practice in October, was subsequently arrested and wound up getting a five-year deferred sentence and two years of supervised probation.
"I told them [scouts] that it was stupid, it was a stupid mistake," Bryant said. "I was in college and I wasn’t looking toward my future. I tell them I was young, and it was a dumb thing."
Those sorts of youthful indiscretions can become key factors in where players wind up on a team’s draft board — or whether their names are completely removed.
"Just by having a good interview," Ogletree said when asked how he plans to convince NFL teams he’s changed. "Just being a good person and letting them get to know me and who I really am and not just what they hear about me and stuff."
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