NFL teams search for loopholes

Within five minutes of any rule being written, someone has gone to work on finding a loophole.

Even the so-called golden rule surely prompted some joker to figure out the least amount of doing unto others he must feign in order to get positive treatment in return.

So it should come as no surprise to learn of the questionable ethical practices that NFL teams are employing at the combine this week.

Much was made of the dilemma facing teams that wanted to know more about the personal life of former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o than what they learned from his sit-down with Katie Couric.

“Here’s the elephant in the room for the teams, and it shouldn’t matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL,” founder Mike Florio said on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “Teams want to know whether Manti Te’o is gay. They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it’s a different world. It shouldn’t be that way.”

There lies the dilemma. Teams want to know, but they aren’t allowed to ask because of employment laws and the fact the combine meetings essentially are job interviews.

No silly rule is going to stop an NFL team from getting what it wants, however.

There’s always a loophole.

Former Colorado tight end Nick Kasa might have let slip how teams are trying to sneak in the question during a chat with CJ and Kreckman on the ESPN Radio affiliate in Denver.

“They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?’ ” Kasa told the hosts. “Those kinds of things. It was kind of weird. But they would ask you with a straight face, and it’s a pretty weird experience.”

Kasa said he felt teams were trying to distract players to see if they could remain focused, but he indirectly might have exposed the way teams are trying to broach the sensitive subject with Te’o.

There has to be a better way.

“Do you like girls?” sounds like a question a creepy aunt poses to a 5-year-old after his first week of kindergarten, not a query to a potential multimillion dollar investment.

In hindsight, though, it’s no sillier question than, “Have you ever met your girlfriend?” which, had any reporter asked it along the way, could have prevented all of this nonsense.

■ EASY ‘A’ — The NFL combine often is a time to reflect on some of the great college athletes of the past who have posted superhuman numbers during the workouts and been drafted high by NFL teams only to never reach expectations at the next level.

No player better fits that description than Tony Mandarich. He was the steroid-inflated offensive lineman that went No. 2 to Green Bay in the 1989 draft. Mandarich did an interview with Portland radio host John Canzano this week and once again talked about the NCAA testing program.

“It was a joke. The NCAA testing — an eighth-grader could have passed it,” Mandarich said.

In fact, anyone could pass the test. By staying clean.

Apparently Mandarich is as bad at making analogies as he was at blocking defensive linemen.


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