Beginning this year, a prospect invited to the NFL Scouting Combine will not be allowed to participate if a background check shows misdemeanor or felony convictions involving violence or use of a weapon, domestic violence, sexual offense and/or sexual assault, according to a memo obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
"It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters," states NFL Football Operations Executive Vice President Troy Vincent in the memo to NFL teams.
In addition, the memo states that prospects must authorize a background check when they register for the combine, and any prospect who doesn't provide the authorization will have his invitation rescinded.
Under the new policy, Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who attended the 2014 combine, would have been barred from participating in the event, which serves as an important piece of the evaluation process for NFL teams. Mettenberger pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery in 2010, eventually resulting in his ouster at Georgia. He later became a two-year starter at LSU.
Last year, Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson's invitation to the 2015 combine was rescinded days before the event after he was indicted by a Knoxville, Tenn., grand jury on two counts of aggravated rape. Johnson was not drafted, and his court case is still pending.
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