Laremy Tunsil's story is that his infamous gas-mask bong video was from two years ago.
The Dolphins better hope he sticks to it.
If not, he could end up in the NFL's substance abuse program without ever failing a test.
Based on the league's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, Tunsil's timeline is critical.
Here's how the pertinent language reads, regarding what it takes for a player to be placed in the program:
“Behavior (including but not limited to an arrest or conduct related to an alleged misuse of Substances of Abuse occurring up to two (2) football seasons prior to the Player’s applicable scouting combine) which, in the judgment of the Medical Director, exhibits physical, behavioral, or psychological signs or symptoms of misuse of Substances of Abuse.”
A video posted to social media of Tunsil taking a massive bong hit would certainly qualify.
And yet, the league must also find evidence that the video is from at least the beginning of the University of Mississippi’s 2014 football season, which will likely prove difficult. (Ole Miss opened the 2014 season on Aug. 28 with a 35-13 win over Boise State.)
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier twice told Miami-based reporters late Thursday night that the video is “two years old.”
When Tunsil met with the local media via teleconference a short time later, said the following:
“Man, that video was years ago. It was years ago and like I said people hacked into my account. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t control nothing, the only thing I can control is what’s going on.”
When asked if the video is indeed two years old, Tunsil responded:
Even if the league believes otherwise, the worst that could happen is that Tunsil would be placed in Stage 1 of the drug program; he would face no fine or suspension. However, Tunsil would be subjected to testing “as often as is required to evaluate the player adequately,” the policy states.
The NFL would not comment directly on Tunsil’s situation, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy did write the following:
“Whenever there is conduct or behavior that involves a substance of abuse, the player can be referred for evaluation and potential entry into the substances of abuse program. The determinations are made by clinical professionals. The primary objective is to provide assistance to address any issues and give the player the best opportunity to succeed in the league. There is no discipline associated with transitioning into this program.”
Tunsil was a likely top-10 pick before the video surfaced just before the draft began Thursday. When he began to fall, the Dolphins began to zero in on him, as did the New York Jets.
The New York Daily News reported that Miami’s longtime rivals tried to trade up from 20th pick to take Tunsil, but the asking price was too steep.