Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler has a long, detailed story out today over at the MMQB about the pitfalls and importance of scrubbing old tweets from NFL prospects ahead of the draft. There’s a lot of work that goes into preventing another Josh Allen situation. Sometimes, it’s fruitless, and other times, it’s over very dull tweets.
Kahler writes that Allen’s agent performed a “review and scrub” of the QB’s Twitter account beforehand, only for him to get exposed anyway. Another agent successfully got a video of his client “naked and having a sexually explicit conversation” scrubbed from the internet, which he thinks would have prevented him from getting drafted.
The story begins, though, with the anecdote of a 2013 draft prospect meeting with a team so eager to get him to stop being online that it printed out his tweets and yelled at him about it:
At the NFL Scouting Combine in 2013, a prospect walked into his 15-minute interview with a team and, to his surprise, was handed a stack of papers as thick as a novel. He flipped through the heavy pile, expecting to see blank play diagrams for some board work. Instead, each page was full of old tweets, taken straight from his own Twitter timeline.
I want some mac and cheese… smh this curfew… on the road again... don’t even know … ready for dinner… takin care of business…
What the f—- do you want to do? the team’s decision-makers asked him. Tweet or play football? If you want to play football, how the f—- do you have time to prepare or play when you are tweeting every five seconds?
Needless to say, that team did not draft this prospect, but another team did. After that fateful combine meeting, the prospect slightly curtailed his serial tweeting. But he still tweeted enough to annoy most teams and lead many to believe he was going to be a bad locker room guy, a me-first guy instead of a team-first guy. Since then, he’s been a team captain and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, and is now among the higher-paid players at his position.
Kahler clarifies that none of the tweets were problematic, but the sheer volume of mundane thoughts like “I want some mac and cheese” and “ready for dinner” was apparently sufficient enough to indict his character. So who was it? Going off the available clues—2013 draft pick, paid well, Man of the Year nominee—there aren’t that many candidates.
Keenan Allen, Eric Reid, Le’Veon Bell, Darius Slay, Kawann Short, and Jordan Reed are all plausible candidates, though they are either not paid well enough or have not been captains. DeAndre Hopkins, Travis Kelce, Eric Fisher, and Terron Armstead are all among the top-10 highest paid players at their positions, but none of them have been nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Only Cowboys lineman Travis Frederick ticks all the boxes, though he’s tweeted less than 500 times, while Bell and Armstead both have over 10,000 tweets.
But Frederick or anyone else from the 2013 draft could have deleted troves of old posts, as none of the most obvious candidates appears to have tweeted any of the phrases quoted in the SI story. Whoever it is, the story is quite informative. No matter what agencies try to do to keep their clients from making asses of themselves, it’s more or less impossible.