Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DJK And The Hawkeyes

Something weird is going on at Iowa, and no, I am not talking about the awful loss they received at the hands of Iowa State this past weekend, but something far more interesting happened yesterday during Kirk Ferentz's press conference.

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was one of the greatest receivers in the history of the Iowa Hawkeyes. He set numerous records while at Iowa, and on the field, you couldn't have asked for much more from a player. Unfortunately, that is not the whole story with DJK. During his time with the Hawkeyes, there was always some sort of problem going on between him and the coaching staff. Despite clearly being a top receiver, DJK was benched for a lot of his career for reasons that had nothing to do with his effort on the field. Still, he was never even charged with a crime until the very end of his time at Iowa.

That is when it all came to a head, and DJK had multiple drug charges against him in December. He was immediately kicked off the Iowa team, and was not even allowed to wear a Hawkeye helmet when going to the Texas vs. USA game designed for NFL scouts to get a look at senior football prospects. Despite the charges leading only to probation for him, and being being seen as a mid-round prospect by just about everyone out there, when NFL teams got their 90-man rosters together, nobody came calling for DJK. It seemed a little curious to anyone who had watched DJK play the game, because the talent is definitely there.

Recently, rumors have been floating around that Ferentz may have "buried" Derrell Johnson-Koulianos to NFL personnel to ensure that he would not make a pro roster this season. Finally, somebody publicly asked Ferentz about the rumors, and here was his response.

This is not the normal, calm-as-can-be Kirk Ferentz that we are used to seeing. He is visibly upset by the line of questioning and vehemently denies ever saying anything bad about any player for as long as he's been there.  So why did he get so worked up by it? The simple explanation is that there was an implication with the question that was not about DJK, but questioned Ferentz's character. Kirk is a guy who is known to sell himself and the Iowa program based on character and turning boys into men; I can understand that this could get him worked up.

But at the same time, Kirk claims nobody asked him about DJK. That seems a little...odd. Andrew Schulze, the Hawkeyes long-snapper made an NFL camp this offseason, yet nobody asked about DJK? Really? NFL scouts will overlook far worse transgressions than the ones made by DJK if the talent is there, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that not one team thought there was enough talent to make a 90-man roster.

I don't want to attack Kirk Ferentz's character, because during his entire time at Iowa, he hasn't given anyone a reason to do so. But this is definitely not the whole story with DJK.

It just doesn't make sense.


P.S. I know I seem like a neanderthal for the most part, but this was a really good article about the emergence of gay athletes in professional sports.

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