I'm a big Michigan fan, and also a big fan of the NFL and the Lions. I wanted to follow the NFL combine to see how Devin Funchess, Jake Ryan, and Frank Clark do. Like many people, i read about the "newly important" personality tests, that will supposedly be of great value to NFL scouts. The importance and value of these tests has increased due to the large presence of domestic violence cases in the NFL this season. I just don't believe scouts will really value these tests, and don't believe that they understand the importance of character in a football player.
Our late great coach Bo Schembechler, whom my father actually played for in the early 70s, understood character. He valued every player on the team, from all-american to walk-on. Coach Schembechler would actively work towards building character in every player on his teams. He would personally go to bars on friday nights and do night checks in every player's room, to make sure their lights were out at 11:00 pm. Coach Schembechler once said "When someone uncovers a scandal in their company, I don't think they can say, "I didn't know that was going on." They're just saying they're too dumb to do their job! And if they really are too dumb, then why are they getting paid millions of dollars to do it? They know what's going on.”
What Coach Schembechler was saying is that people have to take responsibility for all their actions. He was saing that if someone screws up, they have to on up to what they did, and if they don't, they don't deserve to play at a higher level. Now, i see that Frank Clark is blaming his domestic dispute on his girlfriend. What Clark said goes against Coach Schembechler directly. If Coach Schembechler had found out what Frank Clark did, or what Brendan Gibbons did last year, he wouldn't fret over them, just to win a few more games. He would kick them off the team on the day itself! You don't see a lot of football coaches like Coach Schembechler anymore. Nowaday's, coaches are preoccupied in winning more than character, and that's a huge problem.
Nowaday's, with the exception of this season, coaches play players who get into problems. They don't spend enough time to get to know a player, so they don't know if he has good character. A great example, albeit not a recent one, is Eugene Robinson. The night before Super Bowl XXXIII, Robinson won the Bart Starr award for "outstanding character and leadership both on and off the field." He solicited a prostitute that very same night. While any other person would be in jail, Robinson was allowed to play, and played awfully. His falcons lost, and he would go on to return the award. Coaches don't spend enough time evaluating the character of their players; they just want to win.
I'm disgusted that Frank Clark got invited to the Combine. If you read the police reports, his domestic dispute looked especially heinous. While he's taking personality tests, Devin Gardner is going to be working out and doing everything he can to be drafted. Devin Gardner deserved the invitation that Frank Clark got, but now has to sit at home, getting texts from Jake Ryan and Devin Funchess about the combine. Heck, Devin will probably be working out when those guys are doing drills at the combine. Guys like Devin, who have great character (most notably what he did for J.T. Barett) aren't rewarded for character. They have little chance of getting drafted, and try their hardest in their limted amount of time with scouts, but still aren't rewarded. Roger Goodell hasn't made any of this better. He promises that the NFL will represent a higher standard, and that he will try to fix these issues that we've seen in the last year, but the only thing that's come about from this are these personality tests.
The NFL has huge issues with character.