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Tip for future professionals: Don't post pics of guns and dope

By Tim Graham

When it comes to vetting football players, NFL security executives go deeper than weights, heights, 40-yard dash times and a couple of interviews.

"You'd be shocked," Seattle Seahawks General Manager John Schneider told reporters last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. "Our security guy does a Twitter and Facebook count."

It should be a lesson to any high school or college kid who hopes to get a job with a major corporation someday that getting stupid with social-media is a fine way to short-circuit a career before it begins.

The topic was brought up last week at the combine in Lucas Oil Stadium. If teams hadn't been researching social-media habits before, then the kooky Manti Te'o storyline has heightened awareness.

NFL teams even are monitoring those "rise-and-grind" tweets you see players thumbing out before sunrise.

"There are some guys on Twitter, and it's like they're trying to be Eddie Haskell now," Schneider said. "They're putting out, 'Oh, I'm going to work out,' and it's 3:30 in the morning. That's kind of weird, you know?

"You see some things that are very alarming. The Facebook stuff, a couple years ago, you had that one guy who had a pile of coke and a couple guns sitting there. I don't think that bodes very well. I know my boss wouldn't really like that."

NFL executives have a chance to sit down face-to-face with any player they're interested in drafting, but they also scrutinize how a prospect handles the media. Te'o performed well before a crush of reporters Saturday in Lucas Oil Stadium, and that likely helped his draft stock.

"Sometimes if we haven't spoken to a player, I will actually look for his information via the internet, maybe some interviews they have done during their college days," Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said. "It's a good starting point if we haven't seen or spoken to a player.

"So even after we visit with a player, we may want to further examine to know how he deals with the media because that's going to be a big part of how he's going to be able to perform as a professional football player."


2013 NFL scouting combine | Manti Te'o
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |