The scrutiny NFL Draft prospects face is intense. Given the high stakes (from a financial and winning standpoint), NFL teams want to uncover and address any possible concerns when interviewing college players during the draft process.
But some teams and executives have taken the line of questioning far beyond what seems reasonable for pro football evaluation. In one of the most infamous examples, then-Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland once asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. Eli Apple was asked if likes men. There are many other examples:
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara may have faced questions like that during the process leading up to the NFL Draft. He has no problem defining and sharing his strong personality. But when asked to change who he is and how he presents himself, the Tennessee product balked.
In an appearance on Uninterrupted, Kamara explained that he was set to meet with an NFL team before the draft and was asked to remove his nose ring before interviewing with the club’s GM.
“I had a team before I went into a meeting,” Kamara told Andrew Hawkins, “one of the guys came up to me and was like ‘Well, you have to go in with the GM so, you know, he doesn’t really understand the nose rings and things like that. So you might wanna, can you take ’em out or something?’ I was like, ‘No.’
“Basically, if you don’t understand it or you don’t like it, then you don’t need to draft me. It wouldn’t be a good choice to draft me.”
Watch the clip here:
It’s possible that the request was a test from that particular NFL team, a gauge of how Kamara responds to authority or how he feels about self-expression. But as Kamara indicated, that felt like something which would make him uncomfortable in his work environment. And if that was the case, he probably wouldn’t perform to the best of his ability.
Whether or not the nose ring would’ve been a deal-breaker for that NFL general manager isn’t certain. But if so, the team lost out on a talent who’s established himself as one of the best, most explosive runners in the league because of the jewelry he chose to wear.
In his first two NFL seasons, Kamara has rushed for 1,611 yards and 22 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He’s also a formidable receiving threat out of the backfield or even splitting out wide, catching 162 passes for 1,535 yards and nine scores. At 9.5 yards per reception, he’s good for a first down virtually every time he’s thrown the ball.
Adding Kamara’s dual-threat ability has made the Saints’ offense even more explosive than it was before. And the Saints appear ready to feature him even more now that Mark Ingram has moved on to the Baltimore Ravens. New Orleans coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis clearly didn’t care about Kamara’s nose ring and they might be the best team in the NFC because of it.
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