Cincinnati Bengals select embattled running back Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick in the NFL Draft
(CINCINNATI) -- The Cincinnati Bengals selected Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft with the 48th overall pick amid major character concerns.
Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 college season when surveillance video showed him punching a woman at a deli, breaking four bones in her face. The video was released in December, more than two years after the incident occurred.
Mixon recently reached a civil settlement with the victim.
The Bengals met with Mixon at the NFL Combine in February and then hosted him in Cincinnati for an individual visit. Head coach Marvin Lewis says the team did "such a lot of work regarding Joe Mixon,” speaking to his former coaches and hearing Mixon’s own explanation of the incident.
While Lewis says he accepted what Mixon said, but added that he is "disgusted" by his actions.
Where or if Mixon would be selected was entirely unpredictable entering the draft. He was considered a first-round prospect before the video surfaced, excelling as a runner, pass-catcher, and pass protector during his time at Oklahoma.
However, teams shied away from the talented prospect following the release of the video. Speaking to the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the Boston Herald:
"While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women."
Other teams did not express reservations regarding Mixon as publicly as Kraft, but reports indicated teams were hesitant to pick him.
In an anonymous survey over past week with all 32 NFL teams, only four said they would consider drafting RB Joe Mixon. But only takes one.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2017
Following his selection, Mixon told reporters, "You know, I am still sitting here crying. I can't believe it. I can't believe it... I am thankful and very honored to be a part of -- to be a Cincinnati Bengal."
He also discussed how the incident altered his perspective:
"It changed me a lot as a person, the way you think, the way you carry yourself, go about things. I'm going to continue to keep doing the right thing around the community, on and off the field. And I'm going to prove to them why they kept me. Leaving from Oklahoma, I still have their name, at the end of the day. I'm going to do whatever I can to make them proud and make them happy. I'm looking forward to doing that with the Cincinnati Bengals as well."
Kim Gandy, the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, expressed to ESPN her concern that Mixon could have another outburst. She says while "it's not so surprising that a team picks a violent person," it is "disappointing."
The Bengals have a history of adding talented players with checkered pasts to their roster. Cornerback Adam Jones, linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and former NFL player Odell Thurman are a few examples.
Mixon could slide into a starting role as Cincinnati continues to build its offense through early draft picks. The team selected wide receiver John Ross with the ninth pick in the draft.
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