A bizarre video that was posted on Laremy Tunsil’s Twitter account minutes before the start of the NFL draft potentially cost the offensive lineman millions of dollars.
The approximately 30-second video, which showed a person smoking from a mask equipped with a bong, was posted to Tunsil’s verified Twitter account before quickly being deleted. The entire account was deactivated about 30 minutes later but the video added to the perception that Tunsil has off-the-field problems.
While it is unclear if it was Tunsil in the video, or what was actually going on, it appeared to impact the left tackle’s draft stock.
The excruciating wait for Tunsil, considered a potential No. 1 pick in the draft, finally ended when the Miami Dolphins took him with the 13th overall pick. When asked about the video immediately after the Dolphins’ selection, Tunsil didn’t confirm or deny that he was the person in it, only saying that he was blessed to be a part of the NFL and that he was Twitter account was hacked.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the team had been aware of the video’s existence well before the draft, and said it was two years old.
His college coach, Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze, was at the draft with Tunsil. He said Tunsil was at the center of some “unfortunate events” and that he was a humble and hard-working young man.
“First of all, I believe in him,” Freeze told ESPN. “… That doesn’t mean mistakes have not happened. … I assure you that’s not who he is.”
Tunsil was considered a potential top overall pick before the Tennessee Titans traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, was a three-year starter at Mississippi.
The Titans had a chance to take Tunsil with the eighth overall pick after a trade with the Cleveland Browns, but Tennessee passed on him, selecting Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin instead.
Tunsil’s agent Jimmy Sexton couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Tunsil sat out the season’s first seven games of his junior season after the NCAA ruled he received improper benefits, including the use of three loaner cars over a six-month period.
His stepfather reportedly filed a lawsuit against him Tuesday related to a confrontation in June, when the men were both charged with domestic violence against each other. Those charges were eventually dismissed.
Tunsil is one of two Ole Miss players in this year’s draft who have had off-the-field issues overshadow productive college football careers. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana following a 15-foot fall at a hotel in Atlanta in December.
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine contributed to this story.
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