CHICAGO (CBSNewYork) — A video of top NFL prospect Laremy Tunsil smoking marijuana from a gas mask bong was posted, and then immediately removed, several minutes before the start of the NFL Draft. The controversial clip caused the star athlete, once considered to be the #1 overall player, to slide to the Miami Dolphins with the 13th pick.
Tunsil’s Instagram account was also reportedly hacked.
The video shows the former Ole Miss offensive tackle laughing and coughing after smoking from the bong. It appears there was a Confederate flag on the wall behind him while he was smoking.
The approximately 30-second video was posted to Tunsil’s verified Twitter account before quickly being deleted. The entire account was deactivated about 30 minutes later but the video added to the perception that Tunsil has off-the-field problems.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the team had been aware of the video’s existence well before the draft. Grier and Tunsil both said the video was two years old.
“Man, it was a mistake,” Tunsil said. “It happened years ago. Somebody hacked my Twitter account, and that’s how it got on there.”
Tunsil said his Instagram account was also hacked, and he didn’t know who was responsible. He said he wasn’t angry, even though his tumble in the draft cost him millions of dollars.
He chuckled several times as he discussed the situation an hour after finally being selected.
“I don’t know why they hacked my account. I didn’t do nothing to nobody. I’m harmless,” he said.
“I’m ready to play football, man. It’s a love for the game. It’s not all about the money.”
Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze told ESPN that Tunsil is “one of the most humbled, hard-working, talented kids I’ve ever been around.”
“I can assure you that’s not who he is,” Freeze said.
Freeze added that Tunsil does not deny the video and “owned it.”
The Big Lead is reporting that Tunsil’s Instagram account was hacked, too.
The posts show Tunsil allegedly texting a Mississippi athletics official to help pay his rent and his mother’s bills.
“Coach freeze and and the whole ole miss program are snakes. They cheat!” one of the posts read.
His stepfather, Lindsey Miller, reportedly filed a lawsuit against him Tuesday related to a confrontation in June, when the men were both charged with domestic violence against each other. Those charges were eventually dismissed.
Tunsil, who was considered a potential No. 1 pick before the Tennessee Titans traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, was a three-year starter at Mississippi.
The Titans had a chance to take Tunsil with the eighth overall pick after a trade with the Cleveland Browns, but Tennessee passed on him, selecting Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin instead.
“He’s a smart kid,” Grier said. “He’s very football-intelligent. This guy is one of those grinders. There’s no doubt this guy loves football, and football is very important to him.”
When asked if Tunsil loves football more than he loves drugs, Grier said, “Yes.”
Tunsil said the Dolphins didn’t need to worry about his character.
“I’m going to show everybody what type of person I am, despite all the mistakes,” he said. “They’re getting a great man. I’m going to put everything on the line. I’m going to give it my all. They don’t have to worry about nothing.”
The International Business Times reported Tunsil lost nearly $16 million dropping in the draft.
Tunsil sat out the season’s first seven games of his junior season after the NCAA ruled he received improper benefits, including the use of three loaner cars over a six-month period.
Tunsil is one of two Ole Miss players in this year’s draft who have had off-the-field issues overshadow productive college football careers. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana following a 15-foot fall at a hotel in Atlanta in December.
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