Former Michigan State star, NFL bust Tony Mandarich wants to speak at combine
If the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine invitees have it their way, they won’t follow in the footsteps of Tony Mandarich.
The former Michigan State star, once dubbed the greatest offensive lineman prospect ever, turned out to be one of the biggest busts in league history. The No. 2 overall pick admittedly used steroids (only in college) and battled a severe pain-killer addiction that spoiled his once promising career.
But in a recent interview with ESPN.com (the story goes in depth about his current life), Mandarich expressed his desire to be a cautionary tale for rookies in Indianapolis.
“I’m amazed when they do the rookie symposiums. … I’m blown away they don’t bring me in to, ‘Hey look, here’s from the horse’s mouth on how not to do it,'” Mandarich told ESPN.com last week. “Who else do you know was a train wreck that could give the rookies a cautionary tale and say, ‘Hey look, you’re not invincible.'”
Mandarich, who now runs his own photography business, wouldn’t be the first draft bust to speak at the combine. Ryan Leaf, who also battled a drug addiction after his brief NFL career, is in Indianapolis to speak to rookies this weekend.
Other NFL players with troubled pasts, like Pacman Jones, got opportunities to speak. Mandarich, having had more time to reflect on his mistakes as a 50-year-old now, believes he’d be a better person to learn from.
“I’m sure they have good guys that [talk to the rookies], but listen, one of the guys they had do it was Pacman Jones, and I’m sorry, I’ll say it publicly: Pacman Jones is not your freaking role model. He’s just not,” Mandarich said to ESPN.com. “I’d say it to his face. Phenomenal athlete … but he’s not the guy I would choose.”
The NFL actually doesn’t to a central rookie symposium anymore, but former players like Leaf are brought in by individual teams.
Perhaps Mandarich’s request will be met by someone in 2018.