The following is a sports commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
You've heard of the golden age of Hollywood? Welcome to the golden age of Alabama football! Those two 2014 late-season blemishes aside, it's difficult for Bama fans to argue that the last few years have not rivaled those Crimson Tide teams of the early-to-mid 60's and late 70's. The main player in the middle of it all? Quarterback AJ McCarron, a superb competitor who has been part of three national championship teams. Bama fan's don't need a last name, they simply say "AJ", and they are reminded of McCarron's success.
With all of that said, and seeing how I couldn't get ahold of Dr Drew or Dr Phil to get their input, I'm simply giving you mine. If the Cincinnati Bengals rookie wants to enjoy a superb NFL career, he needs to make one move that can and will ultimately help him succeed: Take a break from Twitter.
You most likely know the story by now: AJ McCarron, while last week telling national media outlets he expected to be drafted in the first round, instead was drafted in round five as the 164th overall pick. A total of eight quarterbacks were drafted ahead of the young man who led his college team to multiple championships. The reason? Several NFL beat reporters insist that McCarron rubbed many NFL big-wigs the wrong way during interviews. Let's look back.
Over the years, McCarron has spoken to local and state media dozens of times, which we certainly appreciate. I have found AJ to be charming, entertaining, intelligent and witty. I have also found him to be testy and at times disinterested. That, my friend is absolutely normal- I mean, how would you like have a microphone shoved in your face after a tough loss (which, by the way, were not many)? Still, there were times when I saw McCarron putting less than his best foot forward during media sessions.
McCarron's recent problems, if reports are to be believed, came during interviews with the NFL people. One reporter has called McCarron's attitude during those interviews as "condescending" and "argumentative." Another media type even wondered how much respect the quarterback really had from his Alabama teammates.
There were other issues, according to NFL insiders: McCarron's decision not to play in the Senior Bowl didn't help his draft stock, reports say, as six quarterbacks practiced in McCarron's home town in front of NFL scouts (McCarron admitted he was banged up and needed time to heal- you remember had he some surgery after the season). Waiting for injuries to heal? There's not much you can do about that but wait it out. But there was another issue that concerned the NFL folks, per reports, and that was McCarron's attitude on Twitter.
McCarron's long-standing shoulder chip has certainly helped motivate him on the field, but I believe it has hurt him off the field. A large part of that chip has come via Twitter. Look- if you are the quarterback at the University Of Alabama and you hang with a hot model, you must have thick skin. If you allow the world of Twitter to overwhelm you, you must have the thickest skin of them all.
Twitter can be a great thing- it can also be a harmful thing. If you vent without thinking or talk too much, you're in it deep before you know it. A quick look at McCarron's current Twitter feed reveals few if any combative or negative Tweets. That's because smartly (as per the Bengals, agent Todd France or AJ himself) the few that were a bit testy have been deleted. But they have been there before, and they have caused the dreaded "clutter" that Nick Saban constantly preaches to his players to avoid.
McCarron's Tweet during NFL draft weekend: "Y'all thought I played with a chip on my shoulder, just wait. God has a great plan and I can't wait." The resulting feedback on Twitter? Clutter.
Another McCarron Tweet: "Love me or hate me, I will forever be me". The Twitter feedback? Clutter.
His back-and-forth Twitter conversations with Darnell Dockett? Clutter.
Even AJ's mom may think of taking a Twitter break, witness just two of her Tweets in months past: To Katherine Webb, "Proud for you.. ignore the jealous folks, maybe someday they can host something like the loser convention" and another as Jameis Winston spoke after winning the national championship, "Am I listening to English?". The result? Big-time clutter for mom and son.
So with the absence of Dr Drew or Dr Phil, here's the advice from where I sit: AJ McCarron, in perhaps the most important summer of his life, needs to take a break from Twitter. He's about to enter NFL mini-camp, he's about to be married, he's about to try to prove everyone wrong. It's time that he continues to surround himself with his family, friends, new teammates, and his sports agent. What he does not need in the Summer of 2014 is clutter, and that, my friend comes by way of Twitter.
Can Twitter be blamed for McCarron's NFL draft free fall? Not entirely, but it certainly didn't help. It's time for this quarterback to take care of his family, his fiancé and himself. So AJ, do the right thing: Deep-six Twitter until next January. There is simply too much at stake at this time in your life. Take time to make time to remove the clutter in your life. If you do what's right, it's only then that you will prove everyone wrong.