Alabama’s Dee Milliner once was considered a sure bet as the first cornerback to be taken in Thursday’s NFL draft.
Now there’s reason to believe he may not be. Actually, there’s five reasons.
According to an ESPN report Tuesday, the cornerback, who helped lead the Crimson Tide to back-to-back national championships, has undergone five surgeries, including a right knee scope, sports hernia, right tibia stress fracture, and procedures on both shoulders.
The most recent surgery, on one of his shoulders, will keep Milliner out during the organized team activity period, according to the report. He is not expected to be ready until training camp, at the earliest.
“We haven’t been able to do the rehab like I want to because I’ve been going to different teams,” Milliner told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But once the draft is over, I’ll be able to start to rehab it and try to get back on track.”
Security beefed up
The NFL is increasing security for this week’s draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with everyone subject to screenings, including use of metal detectors and pat-downs, and searches of personal property.
Even league officials, players and their families will be subject to such measures.
The league said spectators who don’t consent to the security requirements will be refused admission.
All sports events have ramped up security since the Boston Marathon bombings last week.
‘‘In light of the current state of affairs, we decided to make adjustments for the fans’ safety,’’ NFL security chief Jeff Miller told the Associated Press.
Those adjustments also will mean about 20 percent more security personnel and increased K-9 explosive detective teams on site.
Signs of the times
Dear incoming NFL rookie: Worried your $8 million contract might get held up by a balky fax machine?
Worry no more.
The NFL Players Association announced a deal with an electronic-signature company that will give players access to technology that makes signing a contract as easy as hitting a few buttons on a cellphone.
The well-timed deal between the NFLPA and DocuSign comes two days before the draft and with memories of the Broncos-Elvis Dumervil fax fiasco still fresh on everyone’s mind.
Last month, the Broncos and their defensive end were unable to seal the deal on a restructured contract because Dumervil couldn’t get the signed paperwork back to the team in time via fax.
When linebacker James Harrison signed his two-year deal Tuesday, the Bengals had a proven playmaker at one of their main areas for concern heading into the NFL draft.
Now, about that right tackle . . .
The Bengals won’t have to worry so much about a linebacker when the draft starts Thursday night. The 34-year-old Harrison left Pittsburgh after he and the team couldn’t agree on a new contract that would help the Steelers get under the salary cap.
He’ll move into one of Cincinnati’s outside linebacker spots, an upgrade to a defense that finished sixth in the league last season in yards allowed.
Cincinnati has one thing left on its to-do list before the draft begins: figure out whether right tackle Andre Smith will be back. The unrestricted free agent has been talking to the Bengals about a new deal, but there’s been no agreement.
Whether he returns will factor into the choices the Bengals make.
‘‘I am hopeful we can get a solution done there prior to the draft,’’ coach Marvin Lewis said Tuesday.
Chargers ink a Gronkowski
The Chargers signed former Broncos fullback Chris Gronkowski, who has played in 35 games, including 14 for Denver in 2012 when he caught one pass for 11 yards and had four tackles on special teams . . . Lions linebacker Ronnell Lewis faces three misdemeanor charges following his arrest during an altercation at an Oklahoma bar. Norman police records show that the 22-year-old Lewis was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with public intoxication, disturbing the peace, and interference with a law enforcement officer. The Lions issued a statement saying the club was aware of Lewis’s arrest and is in the process of gathering more information . . . Broncos punter Britton Colquitt signed his free agent tender that will pay him $1,323,000 next season.