RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks selected LSU cornerback Tharold Simon in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft, and normally, that wouldn't merit a blip on the radar. But it did in this case, because Simon was arrested last Thursday in his hometown of Eunice, La., for public intimidation, resisting an officer and unnecessary noise violation. In addition, according to local police, Simon threatened an officer. There were plans in Eunice to have a "Tharold Simon Day," and according to Mayor Rusty Moody, the ceremony would go on.
"In the United States, our justice system says everyone is innocent until proven guilty," Moody said.
Simon's agent, Peter Shaffer, disputed the allegations, and said that he's considering legal action against those involved.
During a phone interview with Seattle reporters after the pick, Simon was asked to recall his version of the details. And, well, the floodgates opened.
"It's my fault. I mean, I shouldn't have been parked on the side of the road. But I was just chillin' in my grandmother's house. And my car was parked on the side of the road by my grandmother's house. And I seen a car pull up, and it looked like a cop car.
"So I went out there. And when I went out there, he told me to move the car. And then I moved the car. And when I turned the car on, the music was up. And so when I pulled up in the driveway, he told me to give him my license. And I gave him my license.
"And then I just sat on my car. He was running my license through. He called another cop to bring him a ticket book, because I guess he was going to write me a ticket. And one of my friends had come to congratulate me on the draft that was going on and stuff. And he told my friend to move around. And then I had got out the car and I was like, 'Man, you trippin' for nothing. I mean, there's nothing serious really going on around here.'
"And I guess he said my pants was low. So he was like 'Pick your pants up before I take you to jail.' And I picked my pants up. And then he just grabbed me and said, 'You know what, matter of fact, put your hands behind your back.'"
"I never ran. I never flinched or moved or nothing. I'm a humble guy. I'm embarrassed about what happened. It shouldn't have happened. But like I said, everything happens for a reason. And right now my focus is to get up to Seattle and go compete."
Seahawks general manager John Schneider talked a bit about the process in which the pre-draft work on a prospect has to be accentuated by vetting the player after an arrest.
"We were able to speak with his attorneys and be comfortable with the situation," Schneider said. That’s really all I can say about it."
Seahawks South Central scout Ed Dodds, back at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the draft, talked about Simon's abilities as a defender. The team believes that he fits the preferred Seahawks profile of big, physical cornerbacks who can play press coverage and have above-average ball skills. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Simon led the Tigers in 2012 with nine pass breakups and four interceptions.
"Very good," Dodds said of Simon's ball skills. "That’s one thing that stood out with him. I know some people, those longer guys, they don’t move like a little guy. But, what helps them is their length. With him, he’s always catching it. There was a play last year, I’m going ‘there’s no way he’s catches this ball’, and he caught it. He looks beat sometimes, but he’s so long and he just catches everything. That’s what you see those guys with length; it enables them; the quarterback thinks the player is open, but this guy is so long, he gets there. With him, though, he’s not just knocking it down, he’s catching it."
Simon caught more than he expected last week, but he's got a clean shot at success in the NFL with one of the league's better defenses. The rest is up to him.