LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger reportedly produced a “diluted” urine sample at the NFL’s February scouting combine, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. A diluted sample is usually regarded as a failed test under the NFL’s drug-testing program, but his physical therapist is defending Mettenberger’s sample.
Jason Eliowitz (Mettenberger’s physical therapist) has claimed the quarterback has been drinking at least on gallon of water per day to combat dehydration. Mettenberger’s agent, Joe Linta, says that medical documentation for his client’s condition was provided to Dr. Lawrence Brown, the league’s adviser for drugs of abuse and alcohol. Linta is apparently still waiting for his response.
Mettenberger has a history of making poor decisions, so a legitimate positive test wouldn’t surprise anyone. He originally signed with Georgia in 2009 out of high school and nearly beat out Aaron Murray to be the team’s starting quarterback as a true freshman. Then in March of 2010 he was arrested outside of a local bar after he allegedly grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman. He eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.
He was dismissed from Georgia in May of that year and landed at Butler Community College in Kansas. He led Butler to an 11-1 record and a spot in the JUCO national title game. From there he landed at LSU and had a successful run as the team’s starting quarterback for two years. He then tore his ACL in his final regular season game.
His rehab from the ACL injury reportedly caused muscle cramping during the day, which is why Mettenberger was ordered to drink so much water. But performance-enhancing drugs can also help injured players recover faster, and diluting a sample would be a great way to cover up the use of those substances.
Mettenberger’s stock has been on the rise as the draft has approached and many believe he could wind up being a high second-round pick. This news could possibly halt that rise and push him back further.
At 6-5 and 224 pounds, Mettenberger has prototypical size and strength for his position. He’s slow and has a long delivery but can make all the throws. But the character questions will haunt Mettenberger right up until the moment he’s drafted. The consensus is that he’s a quiet, introverted kid who doesn’t have the commanding personality most quarterbacks do. He’s reportedly a good student but whether or not he has what it takes to earn the respect of his teammates, is yet to be seen.
Ultimately, this will all come down to whether or not NFL teams believe Mettenberger’s excuse for the diluted sample.