The build-up to Laremy Tunsil’s introductory press conference was far more dramatic than anything he actually said.
Tunsil, a national curiosity after one of the most-surreal draft nights in NFL history, suffered an allergic reaction at Dolphins camp Friday, briefly postponing his meeting with South Florida media.
Feeling better an hour later, he finally faced questions.
Tunsil said next to nothing — brushing off questions about his notorious gas-mask bong or his admission late Thursday that he was paid by Ole Miss coaches.
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“I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins,” Tunsil said, again and again, when asked about the controversy that has fascinated a nation.
“I’m blessed,” he added, more than once.
It was a far different story than draft night, when Tunsil acknowledged that the video posted to his hacked Twitter account was indeed of him smoking weed in a creative fashion.
Then there was the matter of those leaked text messages that suggested Tunsil accepted cash from University of Mississippi staffers. He blundered up in Chicago on Thursday, admitting they were real. Tunsil was far better coached Friday, refusing to confirm, refute or even address the issue.
Tunsil showing up at all was a bit of a shock, considering that an hour earlier, he was physically ill. Tunsil believed he had a reaction to something he ate. He’s had such a reaction before, Tunsil said. Dolphins doctors treated him, and he made a quick recovery.
Tunsil will line up at guard for the Dolphins this year, with Branden Albert and Ja’Wuan James remaining at tackle. Tunsil said he’s open to playing anywhere the team asks.
In all, Tunsil was understandably reticent to say much of anything Friday — even about non-controversial aspects of his journey to the NFL.
Some estimate the draft-night sabotage cost Tunsil $10 million over the course of his rookie contract. He would have certainly gone in the top 10 without it, and possible the top 5.
Instead, he slid to 13.
Despite the evidence of drug use in college, Mike Tannenbaum said the Dolphins are comfortable with his eligibility and expect Tunsil to be available for the start of the season.
“No character issues at all,” Tunsil said of himself. “They gave me a chance and I’m going to show them why I’m the best player, I could be.”