By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 1:41 pm in Oakland Raiders.
CNN-SI is reporting Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji tested positive for drugs at the NFL scouting combine and that teams were already aware he had tested positive for marijuana at Boston College.
There are some mock drafts, including one by former Raider exec Mike Lombardi, which have the Raiders taking Raji in an effort to shore up the NFL’s 31st-ranked rushing defense.
Drug test stories always make me a little uncomfortable. It’s a mine field fraught with the possibility of error, with those who want to float information for their own purposes and reporters eager to be the first to a story.
I’ve heard rumors before, but nothing close to the reporting stage. Frankly, without the drug test directly in front of me so I could see it with my own eyes (and someone who could help me understand what I was looking at), I’d just as soon take a pass.
It’s like one of those occasions where I run into a Raiders player out on the town during a road trip. “You going to write about this?,” they’ll sometimes ask.
“Not unless you wind up on a police blotter. Then I’ve got no choice.”
Listen to Warren Sapp talk about how he was linked to cocaine by ESPN, a story which caused him to fall in the first round. Charlie Garner, an affable sort, never did truly trust the media again after a false report in a Philadelphia newspaper chronicled a positive drug test for marijuana.
It usually turns out that most of the stories linking athletes to drugs are true. The NFL seems to have a pipeline regarding its allegedly anonymous drug and steroid program which runs straight to ESPN, Fox, etc.
It makes the league look as if it is serious in cleaning up the problem.
Whether Raji truly has a problem or not, or whether he ever failed a test, is not known.
But it’s out there now, and it could cost him. I’m sure there are teams that fully realize there are players who may go Michael Phelps from time to time, and they’re more worried about the positive test and the negative spin then they are the fact that the drug was actually consumed.
The Raiders are known for going their own way and not concerning themselves with what people think. They had the information anyway. The story alone isn’t going to alter their perception.