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April 11, 2008

Notebook: Nevada's Butler sets record straight

A recent Internet report stated that Nevada senior linebacker Ezra Butler had possibly been removed from several NFL Draft boards based on the fact that using marijuana was "part of his diet."

In an interview with Butler arranged by Octagon Sports Agency, the group that represents the linebacker, Butler said he wanted to set the record straight.

"First off I want to say those allegations are totally false," Butler said. "That is not the kind of person that I am, but it has made me better and stronger because I know that God will never give me something I can't handle."

Butler admitted that he missed the Sept. 1 game with Nebraska because of marijuana use, but that he is not a habitual user as has been portrayed.

"I was clean all semester until I took a vacation with friends," he said. "I was dumb and let peer pressure get to me. I admitted to the lady giving the test at school that I was probably going to test positive."

Butler said he was tested six more times at Nevada and at the NFL Combine, all of which have come back negative. Prior to his positive result in the spring of 2007, Butler indicated he had passed all of his prior random drug tests as well.

"What I would tell the NFL or anyone out there is that I made a mistake, one that I have learned from, grown from and now want to distance myself from," Butler said. "What you are getting when you draft me is a player that loves the game, loves his family and wants to prove himself to be as good a person as a player."

Butler is expected to be selected between the third and fifth rounds.

Trade talks still ongoing

According to several league sources, the New York Jets would likely acquire two of the five draft choices the Denver Broncos currently possess between the fourth-and-sixth round in what would break down to basically a sign-and-trade deal for former first-round defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson.

The Broncos will need to sign Robertson to a new deal prior to the draft in order to allow the trade to be completed, but the Jets are currently without a fourth-round draft choice. The Broncos have picks No. 108 and No. 119 in the fourth, as well as No. 139 and No. 148 in the fifth and choice No. 183 in the sixth round.

The Jets currently have a total of just six picks in the upcoming draft, while the Broncos have a total of nine draft choices. Also, dealing Robertson would save the Jets about $8 million. He is scheduled to count $11 million against the team's salary cap.

If acquired, Robertson could challenge Alvin McKinley to play next to rising second-year interior defender Marcus Thomas in a 4-3 scheme. The Broncos finished 30th against the run last season.

Otah works for teams

Pittsburgh senior offensive tackle Jeff Otah held a private workout on campus for scouts on Wednesday.

A total of 11 teams - Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Kansas City, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Diego - were in attendance for the workout.

He was measured at 6-6 and 324 pounds. He was timed between 5.25 and 5.30 in the 40-yard dash before also performing positional drills for those in attendance.

Otah's left ankle had kept him from doing a complete workout for scouts, but he was able to significantly improve his 40-times from the NFL Combine (he was in the 5.50 range).

Previously, Otah recorded 27 reps of 225 pounds, a 22.5-inch vertical leap and an 8'6" mark in the broad jump.



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