In the age of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle, even the simplest of details get turned into overblown stories. This brings me to the “news” that Houston Texans third-round draft pick Sam Montgomery was placed on the NFI (non-football injury) list by the team yesterday.
Montgomery has been a hot topic for fans all offseason, as his selection by the team in the 2013 NFL Draft was quite a surprise. This regime has gotten the reputation of only wanting “high-effort, high-motor” players in town, and Montgomery was considered a red flag in that department.
By now, we all know the story about LSU strength coach Tommy Moffit having him on a list of players that “miss workouts and always [had] an excuse.” This, added with his comments at the combine that he had a hard time getting up for a game against a lesser opponent, is how you go from a first-round prospect to a third.
With these things in mind, some were very quick to jump to conclusions when the news of him being placed on the NFI list hit yesterday. Even the local media began to pile on by saying he was overweight in organized team activities and didn’t look motivated. Of course, none of these reports came from said media types prior to yesterday.
I have gone on record several times saying that Montgomery is the one high pick in this draft for the Texans that I am skeptical of. I tend to prefer that teams steers clear of any prospect who get the “takes plays off” tag. However, what I’ve heard on social media, local radio and media outlets is just plain jumping the gun.
Even Paul Kuharsky of ESPN’s AFC South Blog had this to say about the situation:
“Indications are it’s not an injury that landed him there, but his conditioning. Texans’ brass, ridiculously, has declined to confirm anything, treating it like a state secret that makes it a bigger deal than it needs to be.”
As anyone who follows this team knows, this front office isn’t exactly forthcoming with the information, so this doesn’t surprise me. Rookies are placed on the NFI list all the time. Dion Jordan got that treatment yesterday and he was the third overall pick in the draft. Sometimes a player comes into camp entitled and cocky, and needs a wake-up call. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s unmotivated, overweight or immature.
I don’t know if that is what Houston is doing here or not, but the point is that none of us know and it’s far too early to label him things like a bust, another blown early draft pick or a bum.
It’s July. If things are looking like this around late August, then we’ll have that discussion.
The truth of the matter is that, like it or not, Montgomery has that stigma of a guy who is lazy and just doesn’t care. Even if it isn’t true, things like apparently coming to camp out of shape aren’t the best way to shake that tag.