April 26, 2012

One regret for Charles

As Orson Charles waits to hear when his name will be called over the three days that cover the NFL Draft, the former Georgia tight end says he'll do so without any major regrets.

Well, except for one.

On March 9, Charles was arrested by Athens Clarke-County police and charged with DUI, an incident Charles openly wanted to discuss during an interview Thursday morning with UGASports.

The incident surprised many in the Bulldog community, as Charles, by his own admission, was a player who always prided himself on doing the right thing.

"The biggest thing I've learned is your every move has a chance to affect you, your family and your friends," Charles said. "The incident I had in Athens - one little thing that you do from here on out can affect you in the long run. I definitely learned from that mistake and if I was to talk to anybody coming out of college and training for the Combine next year I would say just keep your nose clean, just work out and stay low until you get your name called."

The question now, is when?

Last year, former Bulldog linebacker Justin Houston was considered a possible first round pick before falling to Kansas City in the third, due many associated with an allegedly failing a drug test at the NFL Combine.

Could Charles drop in the draft as well? Although the Tampa native is not a projected first-round talent, some have wondered whether or not the 6-2 , 251-pounder could slip beyond the third round where he is projected by many to go.

"I'm not really concerned because like I said, I'm fulfilling my dream. I still have a chance to say that. I'm going to play in the NFL," Charles said. "A lot of people dream about being in my shoes and I feel all I need is a little opportunity to show the coaches what I have."

Unfortunately, the DUI might not be Charles' only worry.

Charles, despite bench-pressing an impressive 35 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, raised some eyebrows when he elected not to run the 40 yard dash for the assembled scouts and NFL personnel, instead waiting until Georgia's Pro Day.

When he did, Charles had a rough go, running a 4.90 against 20 mph winds and a 4.75 with the wind at his back.

That apparently has been other issues as well.

According to NFL Draft website sidelinescouting.com, Charles reportedly did not listen well at his pro day and multiple drills were stopped because of him, raising more questions in some teams' eyes.

Charles said he's not concerned about the criticisms that have come his way.

"I'm not worried at all, because if I did that then I wouldn't be happy right now. If my trainer and agent say 'Orson, I think you should wait until your Pro Day so you can keep working' I'm going to do that. I'm not going to worry about what other people say," Charles said. "You can't live your life off trying to please others because you're going to find out that you can't please everybody. Everyone is going to have something to say so. If you feel comfortable with it and you feel comfortable with the people telling you this, then that's all that matters.
"If you try to please everybody you're going to be miserable."

That's something Charles certainly doesn't plan to be.

"Everybody's been asking me, 'Orson would you be mad if you got picked up in the second or third round, or fourth?' I told them to tell you the truth, no," he said. "With how the contracts are slotted - you're not going to get a lot of money up front - you're going to get money on that second contract so I feel all I need is a chance to get in, learn my plays and show the coaches that I'm capable of playing. I do that and everything will take care of itself. If you're worried about what round you get picked, how much money you get this and that, you're not going to enjoy the whole process."

But not all the news is bad for Charles, who said his only private session was for his hometown Tampa Bay Bucs.

Charles, who caught 45 passes for 574 yards and five touchdowns, has drawn comparisons to New England's Aaron Hernandez, a player who stretches the field extremely well for a tight end and one who is dangerous after the catch with the leaping ability to catch the ball at its highest points.

"I'm excited. I'm definitely ready to go to a new city, meet my new coaches, learn my new playbook and get back to work," said Charles, who will watch the draft with family and friends. "I just dream about anybody picking me because this is definitely a blessing. I'm lucky to be here and I thanked God this morning for putting me in this position. I'm just happy. I'm on Planet 9. I'm just like a little kid right now. It still hasn't hit me. When my name is called, I might just break down in tears."