Ex-Clemson standout Dexter Lawrence on PED questions ahead of NFL draft: ‘You can’t hide from it’
CLEMSON – There are no lingering questions about Dexter Lawrence’s athletic ability, but questions pertaining to his positive test for a performance enhancing drug prior to the Cotton Bowl last December continue to have an extended shelf life.
“They talk about it and I just tell them the truth,” Lawrence said Thursday following his participation in Clemson’s Pro Day at the Tigers’ Poe Indoor Practice Facility. “Everybody asks me about the PED stuff, but it’s whatever.
“I know I have to address it because it happened. You can’t hide from it. It’s something I’ve got to deal with. I don’t like talking about it because it’s dumb and I didn’t do anything.”
Regardless, NFL teams want to know every detail of a person’s history before they invest millions in making that player a high draft pick, which is where Clemson's 350-pound All-America defensive tackle is projected to land next month when the 2019 NFL Draft unfolds in Nashville, Tennessee.
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To his credit, Lawrence has been forthcoming about the test and his subsequent ban from Clemson’s College Football Playoff games, which has proven an effective tack.
“Be yourself – don’t try to be something you’re not,” said Lawrence, who is one of three former Clemson defensive linemen expected to be drafted in the first round. “If they like who you are then they like you; if they don’t, they don’t. Be honest. They know everything already. So there’s no point in sitting there and lying to them and yourself.”
Now Lawrence would like to know the results of Clemson’s internal investigation into what caused two teammates – tight end Braden Galloway and offensive lineman Zach Giella – to test positive for a trace amount of the banned substance ostarine.
“It’s very frustrating to me because chemically something could have happened in my body that I don’t know of,” said Lawrence, who addressed the issue at the recent NFL Combine as well as with teams he’s met individually with since. “It’s annoying.”
That annoyance hasn’t sapped Lawrence’s spirit. He sported a pink Power Rangers headband at Pro Day and frequently congregated throughout the day with four other “Power Rangers” – Austin Bryant (red), Clelin Ferrell (green), Christian Wilkins (white) and Albert Huggins (yellow).
“We’re sporting our Power Ranger look, kind of revealing our identities a little bit,” Lawrence said. “It’s about bringing us together one last time.”
Austin Bryant after Clemson Pro Day 2019
Scott Keepfer, [email protected]
That quartet wasn’t the only group of former Tigers gathering for a final time as a program-record 24 players showed up for Pro Day, ranging from the highly regarded defensive linemen to free agent hopefuls such as Milan Richard, Trevion Thompson, Jaylen Williams and Adam Choice.
“I always get excited about the guys that didn’t get to go to the Combine,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “I think we had some guys do really well today that solidified their opportunity. That is all you can ask for.”
There were plenty of eyes on Clemson’s hopefuls. Ninety-seven NFL scouts, personnel directors and general managers represented all 32 NFL teams and one CFL team were on hand to watch, scrutinize and record results as players participated in a variety of skills tests.
Three head coaches attended the Pro Day – Mike Tomlin of the Steelers, Zac Taylor of the Bengals and Mike Vrabel of the Titans.
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