NFL

QB Mallett: 'I'm a great person'

Our experts debate if Ryan Mallett hurt his draft stock with his comments at the Combine.
Our experts debate if Ryan Mallett hurt his draft stock with his comments at the Combine.
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Nancy Gay

Nancy Gay is the Senior NFL Editor at FOXSports.com. She has been covering the NFL and other major sports for more than two decades. The first female member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, Nancy also is an Associated Press All-Pro selector. She has covered 20 Super Bowls. Follow her on Twitter @nancygay.

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INDIANAPOLIS

Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett said Saturday he laughs at the myriad unsubstantiated reports linking him to drug use, even addiction.

He already has an arrest on his record for public intoxication, which makes the spotlight on his personal life that much more intense.

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What does Mallett want NFL teams to know about his character, what type of person he is?

“I would say I’m a great person,” the 6-foot-6, 238-pound quarterback said Saturday as he faced the enormous NFL Scouting Combine media gauntlet at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. “But I would also tell them, ask the coaches and ask the people that I’ve worked with before.

“If you want to know about my character, ask them and they can tell you.”

On the field, Mallett has quality numbers: The Michigan transfer in 2010 set or tied 43 Arkansas school or championship records, and his career average of 29.6 yards per touchdown pass is the highest in Southeastern Conference history.

Mallett put up 7,493 career passing yards, 7,141 career total offensive yards and 62 passing touchdowns, the highest totals by active SEC players. In 2010, he completed an Arkansas single-season record 266 passes on a school-record 411 attempts for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

But the off-field baggage is getting heavier by the day.

This week, former Rams and Panthers personnel department executive Tony Softli, now an analyst for 101 ESPN in St. Louis, had this to say about Mallett.

"Heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept (Mallett) from coming out for the 2010 draft,” Softli wrote.

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"His inconsistency in leading his team to victory or making poor decisions at the most vital time of the game really sends up a red flag," Softli continued. "Character and drug use issues are starting to rear their ugly head.

“A lot of people are comparing Mallett to Ryan Leaf. I think Ryan was a better football player, with a cannon for an arm but the immaturity was just too much to overcome. A hair folical test might tell all 32 teams who this person really is."

Mallett offered this blunt response when asked whether he is upset by the rumors that are dogging him.

“I’ll tell you – when I saw that stuff, I laughed about it,” Mallett said, smiling. “You know … you can’t control it, though.”

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