Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Raji's Stock Back on the Rise?

by: Mike Parker

Reports of Boston College defensive tackle BJ Raji allegedly failing a drug test at the NFL Combine appear to now be nothing more than nasty rumors.

The agency representing Raji -- Athletes First -- has released a statement denying the authenticity of any claim that Raji tested positive for marijuana usage in February. The agency says neither they nor the NFL ever confirmed any such allegations to be true, but two websites reported the unsubstantiated claims anyway.

An excerpt from the statement is as follows:

“B.J. Raji has NOT received any letter from the NFL or the Independent Administrator indicating that he tested positive for drugs at the Combine. Further, after these unsubstantiated reports surfaced, B.J. contacted the independent medical advisor’s office (Dr. Lawrence Brown) to confirm that he had not been sent any letter and has not been entered into the NFL’s Drug Intervention Program. B.J. did not receive a return call from Dr. Brown, but learned today that Dr. Brown is not allowed to talk to any player directly unless that player was sent a letter informing him that he had failed a drug test at the NFL Combine and/or been instructed to contact Dr. Brown. That Dr. Brown will not talk to B.J. – as Dr. Brown would otherwise be expected to do under the NFL Substance Abuse Policy if B.J. had failed a drug test or being sent a letter directing him to contact the medical advisor’s office – is further proof that these reports are untrue."
With Raji's name in the process of being cleared (provided the test results were indeed false and this isn't just a publicity stunt), it will re-open debates of who will end up taking him. Three out of the four NFC West teams have first-round draft picks in the top 10 this year. While the Hawks are unlikely to take Raji at No.4, and with the Rams even more unlikely to take him at No.2, the 49ers could have him in their sights at No.10.

Facing a defensive beast like Raji twice a year from here on out could be something the Hawks front office is currently pondering. Plus, with the possibility of the Rams taking Curry at No.2, could this strengthen the case for Ruskell taking an offensive lineman at No.4 this year? -END-