Poised and perturbed

INDIANAPOLIS – Quarterbacks got the full attention at the NFL scouting combine today.

Especially Auburn’s Cam Newton and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett, who finally made their way into the media interview room at Lucas Oil Stadium. They are two of the four quarterbacks who could be selected in the first round of April’s draft – along with Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert and Washington’s Jake Locker.

Newton had cocked a few eyebrows with his statement this week that he was looking to become “an icon and an entertainer.”

He looked to soften the fallout when he stepped to the podium by reading a statement:

“Football is my No. 1 priority. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m just going to go into whatever organization that I’m picked up and I’m going to be lucky. I’m going to be happy. This is a dream that I’ve always envisioned myself doing.”

That was that, and the Heisman Trophy winner then handled any and all questions that came his way.

He also added, “It was somewhat misunderstood. It was partly my mistake of not making myself clear, and that was my fault.”

Mallett was not as fortunate. The first question as he stepped to the podium centered on recent – and vague – reports about his character and personnel behavior.

“I’m not going to talk about that right now,” he said. “I’ve got the interviews with the team, and the teams got to know what they need to know, and I’m going to leave it at that.”

But reporters didn’t leave it at that. Asked repeatedly about his “issues,” Mallett finally walked off the podium.

End of interview, but hardly the end of it for Mallett.

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