Malcolm Kelly is known for his Velcro palms, but the sure-handed wide receiver didn't hold his tongue after a frustrating workout before NFL scouts last week. Instead of drawing attention to his remarkable hands, Kelly's tryout and subsequent tantrum reportedly drew more attention to his knee and mouth.
Kelly, who opted to forgo his senior season and enter the 2008 draft, hoped to silence detractors questioning his health by running a 40-yard dash under 4.5 seconds during an April 9 tryout in Norman, The Oklahoman reported. Just two weeks before, an NFL Network draft pundit had commented the athlete's knee issues were leading franchises to remove him from their draft boards.
When the pro prospect purportedly clocked in at 4.68 seconds, he blamed the University of Oklahoma's strength and conditioning staff.
"Certain people have tried to hold me down, and they know who they are," Kelly said, according to the Oke. "I wouldn't say the whole OU coaching staff, but certain people, I would say that."
More specifically, Kelly accused the Sooner strength staff of not telling him the workout would be on field turf at Everest Indoor Training Center and not on the Mosier Center's AstroTurf, where he'd been training. Jerry Schmidt, OU's strength and conditioning coach, claimed NFL scouts picked the Everest Center turf because it most resembled the surface at the February NFL Scouting Combine, the Oke reported.
To paraphrase Eighties guitar supergroup Asia, the heat of the moment shone in Kelly's eyes "¦ and his gestures. The Tulsa World reported that mad Malcolm loudly complained after the workout and was spotted arguing with Schmidt, waving his aforementioned hands, pointing a finger and throwing his shoes.
Kelly reportedly was not able to participate in the NFL combine because of an injury suffered during postseason preparations in December. The West Virginia bowl game was anything but a Fiesta for Malcolm, as the receiver was relegated to one series in the blowout. The Oke reported Kelly was initially diagnosed with a deep thigh bruise, which was later changed to a partial tear of the quadriceps. Calling it a misdiagnosis, Kelly claimed OU's staff risked his career by not properly treating the ailment.
"They told me it was a thigh bruise and to try and play through it," Kelly told the Oke. "A deep thigh bruise hurts, you're in lot of pain, but it doesn't feel like someone is pulling at it or stabbing you in the leg. I tried to tell everybody it was worse than a thigh bruise. They told me it wasn't that bad, to go out there and run, that it was all in my mind. If I had gone out there in the bowl game and run full speed, where would I be? Nowhere. I'd be sitting at home right now rehabbing. Then people say, trust in what they say, they're not going to steer you wrong.
"If I had sat out from the time I messed it up, I would've been ready a week before the bowl game and could've played. It frustrates me a whole lot, the fact that I could've played and the fact that I knew it was something else and I was being told differently. I sat out the game. People were mad. But I wasn't going to injure myself or go out there and run half-speed and mess up the team."
Stoops reportedly begged to differ, saying the Sooner didn't practice after injuring his thigh.
"I don't think that is fair," Stoops told the Oke of the knee-jerk reaction. "A lot of deep tissue injuries take a while to figure out. Our doctors do as good a job as anybody in the country. Regardless of what his injury was, misdiagnosed or not, it was a deep tissue injury. He never played. It isn't like he played a game and re-hurt it. He would not have done anything different than he's done, which is rest it for a long period of time, which he did, and rehab it.
"He didn't do anything the whole time before we went to the Fiesta Bowl. He didn't practice once. He didn't practice at the Fiesta Bowl, even though we tried to warm him up. It's not realistic for that injury to heal that fast."