Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon may be a first round talent on the field, but when the video of him punching a female (and breaking bones in her face) surfaced last year, it solidified the notion that Mixon would not be a first round pick, or even a day two pick, and perhaps no teams picks him at all. The NFL decided not to invite Mixon to the combine this year, and some coaches took exception to that.
Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn seemed pretty miffed that the league isn’t allowing teams to get a closer look at Mixon and being able to hammer him with tough questions about the incident in question, as well as other off-field behavior issues. Denver Broncos GM John Elway sounded like he wanted to get a look at Mixon, but understood why the NFL didn’t invite him to the combine.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spoke at the combine this week as well and had his own thoughts not just on Mixon, but players with ugly off-field incidents in general.
Q. With your college coaching background, what are your feeling about Joe Mixon and other who have off-the-field issues not allowed to participate in the combine?
A. “Well, I think it’s part of the process. It’s part of the life that everybody lives. You are accountable for your actions, and all. We just try to do the best we can with our guys and try to help them as much as possible, so they can have all the opportunities that are available. It’s no different in working with kids on the streets than working with our players or working with our family members. We are working to make them the best that they can be, and to help them figure out what it takes to get that done, sometimes people have to take steps backwards to take steps forward. Our way of looking at it is to always be there to support our guys, and to always be there to help them -- when they do their good things, and when they do their bad things – so that they know they have a chance to rectify and get right. Hopefully in his case he can do that, too.”
Any team that drafts Joe Mixon will tell the media the same thing that Carroll and John Schneider said after they drafted Frank Clark and when the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill: “We did our research. We did a lot of research. We talked to tons of people. We believe in our evaluation.” Agree or disagree with the decision for a team to add Mixon, that’s going to be what is said when it does, and then team, fan, players will have to make their own judgments on the decision and the research.
Mixon will have his chance to showcase his athletic abilities at Oklahoma’s pro day on March 8.