We love Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. By we, I mean just about everyone not associated with Texas A&M. Even OU, OSU and Texas fans get a kick out of Leach, who is that crazy old uncle who will do or say just about anything.
But Leach’s response to the NFL overlooking his quarterback, Graham Harrell, while the Cowboys drafted A&M backup QB Stephen McGee, and Leach’s blistering attack on the Cleveland Browns for allegedly downgrading star receiver Michael Crabtree does not help Tech’s cause.
Everyone got a laugh out of Leach saying “The Dallas Cowboys like him (McGee) more than his coaches at A&M did.” Heck, the Cowboys might even have chuckled at that one, though no one in Aggieland did, I promise you.
But the NFL will not laugh at all at Leach’s comment concerning Crabtree. Reports out of Cleveland said the Browns didn’t like Crabtree’s attitude when he visited their complex before the draft, likening him to a diva.
“Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy (Eric Mangini) as a coach at this point,” Leach said. “…Let’s see how all those non-divas do up in Cleveland this year.”
Again, this is great stuff for us in the news business. But is it great stuff for Texas Tech?
Remember last summer, when the Big 12 staged its media days, a three-day event in which coaches and players from the league meet with media from the region and the nation. The whole premise is to promote Big 12 football; its teams and its players.
Leach failed to bring Harrell, who was considered a Heisman Trophy contender at the time. Fast forward five months, when the Heisman committee invited just three players to New York for the trophy ceremony: Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow.
Harrell finished fourth in the Heisman voting but was far back of the other three, and Leach ripped the proceedings. Ironic. Leach wanted the Heisman committee to promote his quarterback, but when given the standard opportunity to do the same for Harrell, he passed.
Now Leach has taken on the Browns — and some would say the Cowboys. These are organizations that in the future will have the opportunity to deal with Texas Tech players.
I’m not suggesting any credible franchise will discriminate against Red Raiders. But the latter rounds of the draft are not scientific; teams take fliers on players. A team has a choice between a player from Tech and a player from, say, Iowa State. What’s the incentive to pick the Red Raider, who has spent four years listening to his coach trash the NFL and its decision-makers?
Is it fair? No. But it’s life. Mike Leach is hurting his own cause.