Joe Mixon was the most notable player excluded from this year’s NFL Combine, a result of the running back’s decision to punch Oklahoma student Amelia Molitor in the face at a Norman restaurant in July 2014. Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn thinks that’s a real shame.
Quinn spoke with reporters at an NFL Combine press conference on Wednesday, and while he ran down the usual questions about prospects, Quinn took time to let the press gaggle know that he believes the NFL is wronging Mixon by not inviting him to the glorified workout sessions. Per Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke:
It’s really disappointing that he’s not here. We come here to see the best college football players...so there’s 330, 40 some off players here and for him not being here because of those issues, personally I don’t think that’s real fair because we have a lot of investigation that we want to do on him and to get him in one spot for all the teams would’ve been great. I’m not a part of those decisions about how those guys are chose, but I think it is a disappointment that guys like him—and there’s a few others you can put in that category—we’re going to be chasing around in the months of March and April, and it’s really unfair to the players, to be honest to you. The door’s open, and I’d just like to be able to get a chance to sit down with the people that know Joe, or Joe, and see what the circumstances were around the incident.
Mixon was suspended for a year by the Sooners before rejoining them and establishing himself as one of the Big 12's top running backs this past season. However, his personal choices continued to keep him off the field even after fracturing Molitor’s jaw, as he was suspended for the Iowa State game this past fall for tearing up a parking ticket in front of a parking attendant and allegedly throwing it in their face. Baylor receiver Ish Zamora—who was suspended for three games by the Bears for beating his dog with a belt—was also left off the invite list.
Quinn isn’t excusing Mixon’s actions, but his grievance isn’t a particularly sympathetic one. He’s ostensibly angry that the NFL has made it more difficult for him and other GMs to properly vet Mixon ahead of the draft, but “Now I have to pick up the phone or fly to another state if I really want to talk to this guy” is not a very convincing gripe. And besides, Quinn is free to get a feel for what kind of person Mixon is by reading his police interview, in which he told officers he struck Molitor because, “it felt like a dude hit me.” Beyond that, he can read up on how Mixon’s agent believes the security camera footage of Mixon punching her in the face can be “an educational tool.”