Agents, Panthers denying reports that Mallett skipped meeting

University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) scrambles away from the University of Florida’s Christopher Coleman during the secopnd quarter of their NCAA football game in Gainesville, Florida October 17, 2009. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

NBC Sports is reporting that the agents for Ryan Mallett are disputing the claim that their client skipped a scheduled meeting with the Panthers on April 9 after a “long night out” on April 8. The Panthers have also joined Mallett’s agents in denying the report.

“There is absolutely no truth to the unfounded and irresponsible report that Ryan skipped his visit with the Carolina Panthers on April 9 because he was too sick after a late night out on the town the previous night. Rather, Ryan had dinner with club officials from the Panthers on the evening of April 8 and then returned to his hotel that evening along with Julio Jones. Ryan and Julio were together the entire time that evening until Ryan and Julio turned in for the night around 10:00 — 10:30 pm.

“Upon returning to his hotel room, Ryan became ill and was up most of the night and into the morning with flu-like symptoms. Keep in mind that this was Ryan’s fourth team visit in the previous week and that Ryan had crisscrossed the country with stops in Cincinnati, Fayetteville, Seattle, Fayetteville again and Minneapolis before Charlotte. Nevertheless, Ryan met with Panthers representatives on the morning of April 9 as scheduled and informed the club at that time that he was extremely sick. Carolina officials decided to send Ryan back to his hotel room for some medicine and additional rest in hopes that they could meet with Ryan later that morning. Ryan did as instructed and contacted Panther officials later that morning to resume his meetings with club officials. However, given that Ryan was still sick, Carolina officials decided to cancel the remainder of Ryan’s visit with the team.”

The Panthers have corroborated that version of the events, in an e-mail to PFT: “Ryan Mallett came for a visit to Charlotte two weeks ago. He had dinner with our coaches the evening he arrived and came down from his hotel room for a scheduled breakfast meeting the following morning upon which time he informed a staff member that he had been sick all night with nausea. We told Ryan that if he was ill to remain in his room as long as the nausea existed. We took him to the airport later that afternoon for his scheduled flight.”

Interesting. So you have the National Football Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Charlotte Observer all claiming that Mallett skipped the meeting because he was out late the night before, while Mallett’s agents and the Panthers themselves claiming that he truly was sick.

If I’m picking sides here, I’m siding with the Panthers, even though they have nothing to gain by tarnishing Mallett’s image a week before the draft. They’re not going to take him and on the outside chance that he falls into the second round and some team wants to trade up to acquire him, Carolina may be able to make a deal. Even the report was true and he wasn’t sick, the Panthers aren’t going to badmouth him now. There would be no reason to.

Still, I choose to believe (for now) that Mallett was a victim of bad reporting. While I enjoy their content, The National Football Post has developed into a highly unreliable site when it comes to reports like these. Granted, the Chicago Tribune and Charlotte Observer are reliable, but maybe they too got bad information on this story.

Either way, there are still concerns surrounding Mallett’s character. I stand by what I wrote on Tuesday in that teams may regret passing on him next week because from a physical standpoint, he’s a great talent and I don’t mind that he’s a little cocky/arrogant. But as I pointed out yesterday, some GM might be saying to himself, “Why bother?” given all of the contradicting reports that have surrounded this kid the past three months.

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