Friday, April 14, 2006

Groin Pains

As a UCLA alum, I've taken part in more than my fair share of USC bashing. But there are some insults that are so degrading and insulting that they shouldn't even be attributed to a Trojan. Such an insult was issued recently when whispers around the NFL were heard that LenDale White will be the next Maurice Clarett. When a charge like that is made, the offended party has no choice but to defend himself. White did respond:

"I am not Maurice Clarett. I never violated team rules. I never robbed anyone," he said. "I just haven't run a 40-yard dash and I gained five pounds. That's all that has happened."

Well, that's almost all that's happened. White also learned today that he has a hamstring tear near the pelvic area. I'm no doctor, but I do know that no guy ever wants to hear the words "tear" and "pelvic area" combined in the same sentence. Doctors are predicting that White won't be able to run until May and even more distressing, can't go ballroom dancing with Matt Leinart until June.

So with White unable to run, it's pretty likely that he'll add on a little more heft to those five extra pounds by the time the NFL draft rolls around. Draft "experts" are now predicting that LenDale White could fall out of the first round completely. Personally, I don't see it happening. There's no way Pittsburgh lets him pass by if he's still on the board with the last pick of the first round. Even if White were to balloon up to 260, he'd still be a good 40 pounds trimmer than Jerome Bettis was last year. The Steelers would be happy enough just to have a big back that doesn't need an oxygen mask coming out of the tunnel.

At the end of the first week of January, I thought that LenDale White was the 2nd best runningback available in the draft. I still believe that to be the case. In the grand scheme of things, I think this injury is just a minor setback for White. However, most GM's are too shortsighted and too nervous about a possible injury bust to take a chance on a dinged up player early in the draft. As a result, I think White does slip down to the end of the first round and will be an absolute steal for either Carolina, the Jets, or Pittsburgh.


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