NEW YORK – Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker wasn’t exactly convincing in his denial about a tweet Tuesday morning from his account in which he admitted to taking money from agent.
But there is an overriding question that seems to erase the issue’s importance in terms of the NFL draft.
Does it matter to NFL teams?
“Honestly, nobody in this league cares about it,” an NFC general manager said Wednesday morning. “Did he take the money, say something stupid and then lie about it? ... I’m not going to take the time to worry about it that much.”
Another NFL executive was a little more measured about it.
“The only thing that you’d worry about is whether it’s going to be a distraction,” the executive said. “You just want to know the ins and outs of the situation and know if the kid is going to get hung up in any way, shape or form.”
On Wednesday at a youth football camp hosted by the NFL, Fluker answered a series of questions about a tweet made in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in which Fluker claimed to have “pimped” agents for money while in school. The tweet was quickly deleted and Fluker claimed his account had been hacked.
“My agent took care of all that,” said Fluker, who is represented by Priority Sports.
When pressed with nine straight questions about it, Fluker was similarly vague.
Did you take money in college?
“I didn’t. You look at my tweets, I never said anything like that. On top of that, they’ll find out who did it and compare the whole situation.”
Are the police looking into this?
“No, but my agents, they’ll find out.”
Do you have any idea who did it?
“I don’t know, they’re going to find that out.”
Have NFL teams asked you about it?
“No, they know it’s not me. All I put out is Bible verses and motivational tools.”
Has the NCAA contacted you?
“They took care of that that morning, my agents took care of that and that was it."
Has Alabama contacted you?
“No. They took care of the situation.”
Is your Twitter account running right now?
“[It] won’t be open till after the draft. My agents at Priority Sports, they took care of that a couple of days ago. Any other questions?”
Are you frustrated by this happening just before the draft?
“I’m not really frustrated about it or anything. It wasn’t me. I’m just happy to be here, honored to be here. Any other questions about football?”
Is there any reason somebody would do this to you?
“I don’t know. There’s a bunch of people who don’t want to see you do good.”
Of course, there is the example of former USC running back Reggie Bush. A week before the 2006 NFL draft, in which Bush was expected to go No. 1 overall, it was reported by Yahoo! Sports that Bush took more than $300,000 in benefits while in college.
Sensing that Bush was not being truthful, the Houston Texans eventually changed their minds and picked North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams a day before the draft. Texans sources later admitted that the accusations against Bush played a role in the team’s decision.
Bush was so damaged by the accusations that he fell all the way to No. 2, where New Orleans took him.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” the NFC GM said. “At best, it’s a minor thing.”
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