Darron Thomas made a terrible decision to turn pro. Everyone knew it immediately when he decided to do it, and the verdict remains the same today, a few weeks after the draft.
It was curious decision, one that didn’t make sense. Did he really have that bad of advisors? Advisors that told him he would be selected or was even ready for the NFL? Was he just a rogue player that decided on his own that he was ready? Did Chip Kelly try to convince him to stay or go? These are just a few of the questions that popped in my mind after I heard he was headed to the NFL Draft.
However, now some of those questions are being answered. Well, they sort of are being answered.
Rashad Floyd, a small time media member that has recently covered the LaMichael James draft party, said the reason Thomas went pro was because of an argument with Chip Kelly, and Kelly essentially told him to leave. The following interview took place on 750 The Game in Oregon.
“He should be the starting quarterback at the University of Oregon right now.” Floyd said.
“Why did he leave?” The radio personality asked.
“Because of Chip Kelly. 100%. 1oo%. Him and Chip Kelly got into it. Just saying, ‘Coach what do you think my chances would be if I declared in the draft?’ He is going to Chip Kelly as a mentor, coach, as a father figure. ‘You know Coach, I have aspirations to play at the next level. Like any other player does at the college level.'”
“What did Chip tell him?”
“Chip was like ‘WHAT? You want to leave? You think you are going to go to the draft? You think you will get selected in the draft? We don’t want you back. Kick rocks.'”
“That’s what Chip said?”
“YES! Him and Darron got into it heavy.”
The interview continues a little bit more about how Kelly and Thomas got into a loud discussion and that Floyd is completely in the Thomas camp.
However, the following day Joey Harrington comes to bat for Kelly on the same radio station, 750 the game. He basically debunks everything Floyd said about the Kelly and Thomas discussion.
“I’ll tell you right now. Absolutely, 100-percent, nothing happened between Chip Kelly and Darron Thomas. It’s not a Chip Kelly and Darron Thomas issue but a Darron Thomas issue.
There are two sides to this. One is a kid who had, it’s sort of a case, he’s a kid nobody every said no to. He came in and played as a true freshmen against Boise and then Masoli got kicked off the team and he had a chance to play early. In high school he had some success, and no one ever said no to him. He went to the national championship game, he went to a rose bowl. He had tremendous amount of success combined with the fact he didn’t have the support system at home. He didn’t have the logical people at home. Everybody bought into the hype, everybody bought into the fact that he was destined for the NFL, well and he wasn’t…
Darron was a case of a guy getting a lot of bad advice and really kind of believing your own press clippings and not working on becoming a better player. And unfortunately it may come back to bite him. He might land somewhere as an intriguing guy, but when he went to the combine and ran 4.8 a lot of that intrigue went away. People thought of him as this fascinating athlete and he didn’t perform that way. But by no means was it a conflict between Darron and Chip. Chip was always supportive of Darron in everything he did.”
Now there are two stories both from people in the “know” about the Chip Kelly/Darron Thomas discussion about going to the NFL Draft. Who do you believe? They both say it with 100% certainty that this did or did not happen.
If the first report is true, this just provides more Kelly haters to throw gas on the fire. If it is not true and the media member was reporting this hearsay or based on opinion, the problem is still a real problem. That Kelly allowed his starting quarterback to leave and make an awful decision. Harrington’s comment “Chip was always supportive of Darron, in everything he did.” Seems to equate with the fact that Kelly was supportive of Thomas’ decision to go pro. Which either Kelly is at best, overly supportive or at worst, terrible at helping players (at least Thomas) decide what is best for them. Either way it doesn’t exactly look good.
Regardless of what happened, Thomas made a terrible decision to enter the NFL Draft and most likely won’t find himself on any team. He has been tried out by the Steelers, Cardinals, and now the Browns but none have appeared to be overwhelmed with his QB ability.