INDIANAPOLIS -- Questions from both media and NFL clubs are tougher on some draft prospects than others at the NFL Scouting Combine, and for former Washington tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, the grill got fairly hot on Thursday.
Considered among the elite tight ends available in the draft, Seferian-Jenkins was asked extensively about a DUI arrest last March that resulted in his suspension from Washington's season opener against Boise State. Seferian-Jenkins took the questions head-on and insisted NFL clubs had nothing to worry about where his off-field decision making is concerned.
"I think it's pretty well-documented that I had a DUI. People might say I have character issues. It was one incident, you can look through my history. Last time I checked, no one is perfect," he said. "It was a learning lesson, I learned it. But it was one incident, and that doesn't change who I am. People in Seattle and Tacoma know who I am as a person, and I don't think I am a character risk or have a character issue at all."
Seferian-Jenkins was arrested March 9 after crashing his vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit in Washington. He pleaded guilty over the summer, and knows the ordeal will be a topic during his interviews with NFL teams.
"Obviously, they're going to do their due diligence asking me about the situation with the DUI, but when you get to know me and get to talk to me, I think it's very clear that I'm not a character issue guy," he said. "I made a mistake and I've moved on past that. ... Not only did I put myself in a bad position, but I could have hurt someone else, and that was the worst thing about it. I've learned. I'm never going to drink and drive, do anything that selfish again, and put anyone in that position. It was a one-time incident, I'm not a character issue guy."
His production in 2013 took a dip that will be a topic for NFL teams, as well. After catching 69 passes for 852 yards in 2012, he caught just 36 for 450 last season.
"I was asked to block more," he said. "We had (running back) Bishop Sankey, a Doak Walker finalist. When my number was called, I made my plays. And we won more games. ... Personal stats don't really matter. I won the John Mackey Award, so I did something right."
Seferian-Jenkins said he has lost 20 pounds in training for the combine and weighed in at 262 pounds Thursday, wanting to show more athleticism and speed. A borderline potential first-round pick, Seferian-Jenkins ranks as the No. 34 overall talent in the draft on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 list.