Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

Dolphins' Tunsil tries his skill at damage control

RECOMMENDED READING


DAVIE — Laremy Tunsil kept repeating the same answer to questions about his free fall in the draft, what he said was the social media hacking that cost him millions of dollars and the investigation he stirred at Ole Miss.

"I'm just here to talk about the Miami Dolphins," Tunsil said several times Friday.

At his introductory news conference with the Dolphins, the big tackle tried to tamp down the furor surrounding his slide to the 13th pick in the draft Thursday.

Touted at one time as a potential No. 1 overall choice, the Mississippi tackle fell into Miami's lap after a video was posted on his Twitter account shortly before the first round showing him smoking from a gas mask connected to a bong. The fall in draft position likely cost him more than $10 million.

Later, a post on his Instagram account showed an alleged text exchange with an Ole Miss football staff member that included Tunsil's request for money. The school said it will investigate.

Thursday, Tunsil said both accounts had been hacked. He declined to elaborate Friday.

Tunsil hinted only once at any bitterness regarding what had transpired while saying he felt blessed to join Miami.

"They gave me a chance," he said. "I'm going to show them why I'm the best player — I should be — in the draft."

The tale took yet another strange twist when the news conference started more than an hour late because, Tunsil said, he suffered an allergic reaction while at the Dolphins' complex. He said it had happened before and probably resulted from something he ate.

"The doctor took care of me, so I'm good," he said.

The Dolphins' risky decision to pick a player 12 other teams passed on was endorsed by executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, general manager Chris Grier and coach Adam Gase.

"A no-brainer," Gase said.

"A great moment for our organization," Tannenbaum said.

Grier said "there was a big gap" between Tunsil and the next highest-rated player on the Dolphins' board.

Thursday's social media posts reinforced Tunsil's reputation for off-field issues.

He sat out the 2015 season's first seven games after the NCAA ruled that 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. The charges were later dismissed.

Meanwhile, the president of the players union took exception to how the league and commissioner Roger Goodell responded to what happened to Tunsil on Thursday.

Eric Winston, an offensive tackle with the Bengals, posted on Twitter that he was "stewing" over it.

"Last night everyone saw a young man's dream turn into a nightmare," Winston's post read. "The mistakes he made in the past were released out there to millions with an intent to harm him. What did the NFL do? Nothing. In fact, if Roger is to be believed, they loved it because it made the draft 'so exciting.' … The NFL invested big on this marketing campaign of 'family.' … Let me dish out some free advice to the young men coming into this league this weekend: they are not your family. This is a business."

Bucs release eight: The Bucs released eight players on Friday, including former USF receiver Andre Davis. The others were Darius Eubanks, Antoine Everett, Gerod Holliman, Kimario McFadden, Derrick Lott, Jermauria Rasco and C.J. Roberts.

Emmitt endorses Ezekiel: Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, a former Florida standout and the NFL's all-time leading rusher, put his seal of approval on his old team's first-round draft pick. Dallas drafted former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall. Someone posted to Smith's Twitter account that they hoped Elliott wold be as good as Smith.

Smith responded: "He's better."

Comments
Strong drops h-word in describing Shaquem Griffin

Strong drops h-word in describing Shaquem Griffin

While saying nothing to purposely fan the flames of the USF-UCF rivalry during his weekly press conference Tuesday, Bulls coach Charlie Strong unintentionally provided fuel for the Knights' best player.He used the h-word when discussing Knights senio...
Updated: 1 minute ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman says itís another week without Jameis Winston as the Bucs prepare to go to Atlanta, and thereís more on the Bucsí run-game issues and how the defense has struggled on third and long, a situation most defenses love to be i...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isnít as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isnít as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, weíll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Chip Kelly Watch: Comparing Florida and UCLA

Chip Kelly Watch: Comparing Florida and UCLA

We know there's mutual interest between Chip Kelly and the Florida Gators.There might be mutual interest between Kelly and UCLA, too.Let's compare the programsMoneyUF: Jim McElwain's salary was about $4.5 million per yearUCLA: Jim Mora made $3.55 mil...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Name game: What should this yearís UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

Name game: What should this yearís UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

This hasn't exactly been a banner year for Florida and Florida State football. And bowl bids are no certainties for either program. So we could look at this year's rivalry as their de facto bowl game. The Times' college football staff takes a crack a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

The Bucs face the Falcons twice in their final six games, and as they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn has had a nice two-week run.Clayborn had a huge game nine days ago with six sacks in a win aga...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winstonís absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG ó That the Rays went right up to Mondayís 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."Thereís always some...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Tuesdayís sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingWelterweights: Alexander vs. Castillo7:30 p.m.FS1College basketballMaui Invitational semifinal1:30 p.m.ESPNLegends Classic third-place game3:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational consolation game4 p.m.ESPN2Legends Classic final6 p.m.ESPN2George Ma...
Updated: 6 hours ago