I rolled my eyes at the claim that an unnamed NFL team had shadowed Jameis Winston on a flight—surely lots of teams had scouts flying into and out of Indianapolis around the combine. But maybe it’s not so crazy. Former Tampa GM Mark Dominik admitted that in 2012, the Buccaneers dispatched a scout to Justin Blackmon’s favorite college bar, to see just how often the potential draft pick dropped by.
Dominik made the admission on ESPN radio
this morning yesterday, and said it was a special circumstance—the Bucs were interested in the talented Oklahoma State receiver, but had concerns about a series of minor incidents through his college career, including one DUI arrest.
“We found out there was a bar called the Cricket Inn or the Cricket, which was a popular bar there in Oklahoma State,” said Dominik. “He [the scout] sat there for one week, went in at 3 o’clock every day and stayed until 11 o’clock at night. That was his job, and we checked how many times did Justin Blackmon come in? And he came in too many times and we took him off our board.”
Who knows if that last part is true—Blackmon was drafted by the Jaguars before the Bucs’ turn came up. And who knows if spending time at your local is actually an indicator of anything useful.
But Blackmon’s a good example of the worst-case scenario teams are imagining when they talk of “character concerns”—an irritating phrase often used by overzealous moralizers, to be sure, but there are off-field issues that actually keep a player off the field. Blackmon’s had multiple substance-abuse suspensions, appearing in only 20 of 48 games for the Jaguars, and racked up a second DUI five weeks after being drafted.
Anyway, can anyone speak to the Stillwater nightlife, and whether the Crosseyed Cricket Saloon is really just that great?