Arden Key says he has been honest with NFL teams during the pre-draft process about the reason for his extended leave from the LSU football team last spring.
That reason, however, has not been made public. Key went longer than a year without conducting a media interview, choosing to stay silent until the NFL scouting combine in February.
During a later interview March 24 at a celebrity kickball game hosted by Tyrann Mathieu, Key said he was “being truthful” with teams about the reason for his leave from the LSU football team. “I”m not going to say to the media but I tell (NFL teams) everything they need to hear.”
According to an ESPN report, some portion of that truth has to do with his sobriety.
The ESPN report listed Key a group of seven players who were said to be “late-bloomers,” which in Key’s case could have to do with the mystery surrounding his absence from the LSU football team.
According to the report, Key is telling teams he has been sober for longer than a year. The report did not give any other specifics about his claim to sobriety.
Key, listed at 6-foot-6 and 238 pounds on his NFL.com draft profile, was once thought to be a sure first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after he tallied an LSU record 12 sacks as a sophomore in 2016.
Many analysts still consider him to be a likely high-round pick, just not as high as before. NFLDraftScout.com lists Key as the No. 4 defensive end in the draft pool with a second-round projection.
The ESPN report cited an unnamed NFL scout who said “the kid was being honest. He’s not a dumb kid. He’s just going to need some time.”