Noah Spence: I never had addiction, undergo weekly drug tests

INDIANAPOLIS -- Noah Spence is at once regarded as one of the 2016 NFL Draft's best pass rushers, and one of its biggest risks.

The Eastern Kentucky pass rusher addressed both on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Spence failed two drug tests at Ohio State, both positive for ecstasy, and incurred a permanent ban from the Big Ten Conference that resulted in his transfer to EKU. Where Spence's risk departs from similar cases, however, is his string of passed drug tests dating back to his ouster from Ohio State that can provide proof to NFL clubs that he's been drug free for roughly 18 months.

"I think it's definitely huge for me. Especially with all my drug tests. (I'm) still being drug tested to this day," Spence said. "(I'm drug tested) every week now. I was on every drug-test list at Eastern Kentucky. After I failed at Ohio State I was drug tested twice a week until I left there."

While 18 months might not be a lengthy enough track record of clean living for some NFL clubs, it perhaps gives Spence an advantage over other prospects who've failed drug tests more recently. Spence said he was caught up in a party scene at Ohio State that led to his drug use, but denied he ever had a drug addiction.

"It was a group of people I can't hang with. I had to be more to myself and stay away from that party scene," Spence said. "I have a girlfriend now, we chill, we go to movies and stuff like that. I don't do much partying these days."

He certainly didn't look like he had a problem with too much partying at the Reese's Senior Bowl, where he dominated some of the draft's top offensive line prospects in pass-rush drills, and recorded a sack in the game as well. His stock as a draft prospect rose to first-round discussion there, and for the NFL clubs willing to take a chance on a player with his background, the combine could push his draft grade even higher.

He's not making any assumptions, however.

"Wherever I go is fine," he said.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and New York Giants were among the first clubs to interview Spence at the combine.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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