INDIANAPOLIS — Al-Quadin Muhammad is one of the most fascinating draft prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine, if mostly because he was invited here despite not playing two of the last three seasons due to suspension and dismissal.
Muhammad has a plan for what he’s telling NFL clubs about what happened at the University of Miami. Why was the talented defensive end caught up in a physical parking-lot altercation and an NCAA investigation involving the use of exotic cars?
“My approach is really not a strategy,” Muhammad said. “My approach is just be honest. Just be honest about the situation whatever it is.”
So, then, what happened in 2014 when you were suspended for a season after an alleged parking-lot punch?
“I don’t really want to talk about any off-the-field issues that I had,” Muhammad said. “I’m focusing on what’s ahead of me and that’s pretty much the 225 bench.”
Muhammad was invited to Indianapolis because he’s tall (6-feet-3-plus) and strong (253 pounds) and can speed-rush the passer (he says he would like to be utilized like the Oakland Raiders’ Khalil Mack).
But he may be a low-round draft choice (or even undrafted) according to some draft experts because of the off-field questions.
Al-Quadin (pronounced Ahl-Kwah-DEEN) Muhammad spent the last year training after he was dismissed by Miami.
And as one might expect, it’s not easy to know exactly what to say about all this.
In one breath, Al-Quadin says of his Miami experience: ” I don’t have no regrets. Sometimes in life things happen.”
But later, when asked about what he has or would tell a University of Miami fan who says he appreciated what he did when he was on the field, but wishes Muhammad had played more games, Muhammad seems to sincerely express regret, too.
“You know what I would do?” Muhammad said. “If the fan wanted to take a picture, I would take a picture with the fan. I’d sign and autograph for the fan. And I would tell them, ‘I wish the same.’… And I’ll leave that alone.”
Muhammad says he’s a smart player, understands the game, has a high motor, plays aggressively and loves football. He says he can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt.
He says some clubs seemed interested in Indianapolis interviews, including the Colts, Saints and Giants.
“I just pray to God that I’m a part of somebody’s organization, which you know, is going to happen,” he said. “So I’m just excited.”
While other players with off-the-field questions (Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon, Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly) were not invited, Muhammad was.
Muhammad says he never thought he would not get an invite. But he also concedes he feels fortunate.
“Absolutely,” he said. “There are some guys who played the whole season but didn’t get an invite here. So I feel real fortunate in that it shows that you know a lot of people believe in me. It shows the film I do have I did some great things. And I did the right things. And I did what I was supposed to do as a student-athlete at the University of Miami. When I was there.”
Muhammad says he appreciates his time at Miami, despite how it ended.
“I think I had a good year,” Muhammad said. “A good career at the University of Miami. I think I had a great year, a great year, or great career, at the University of Miami, even though I had some off the field issues or whatever. It still was great to be able to get a scholarship from Miami and being able to put that helmet on at the U. And do some great things when I played.”
Asked about what it was like to not play football last year, Muhammad said: “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be rude or anything. I just don’t want to talk about anything pertaining to off the field issues.”
Asked about how close he came to transferring to Rutgers or any other school, Muhamad said: “I really don’t want to touch on that. I don’t want to get off track. Being at the combine is a great accomplishment. And this is a great place to be. And I really just want to focus on that. So if you have any questions pertaining to the NFL Combine, I’ll answer that. And I really don’t want to answer anything else that is outside of the NFL Combine. Thank you.”
One thing Muhammad was glad to talk about was the NFL dream he still believes is strong.
“I think I can make a huge impact just coming in and mastering whatever role they give me,” Muhammad said. “If it’s getting after the quarterback, I’ll definitely make a big impact doing that. If it’s playing special teams, I’ll make an impact doing that. Whatever I need to put myself in a position to help the team. That’s what I’ll do.”
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