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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Devaney Discusses Character

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    By Brett Grassmuck
    Staff Writer

    The NFL calendar begins March 1. It’s the time of year where NFL coaches, scouts and front-office personnel come together to create and review evaluations of players available via free agency or the NFL draft.

    Players are evaluated not only on their ability to contribute on the field, but the quality of their character off the field as well. The way they lead their lives and their leadership ability in the locker room is as big of a factor as their ability to make plays.

    Billy Devaney, new Rams executive vice president of player personnel, is in the thick of the Rams free agency and draft evaluations, so it was fitting that he took some time to discuss the importance of character with local school superintendents on Wednesday.

    “We firmly believe that (character) is critical for long-term success,” Devaney said. “The more good people we can bring in the building, guys that care about the team, guys that care about winning, that are serious about their profession, those are the kind of guys you win championships with.”

    Devaney shared his philosophy with a Russell Training Center auditorium full of superintendents during their annual meeting with CHARACTERplus, an organization that focuses on character building in St. Louis schools, and an organization that the Rams have a long-standing relationship with.

    Devaney shared not only his character philosophy with the group, but began with giving some praise to the superintendents. He told them that while the Rams and the NFL try to build character in their players, it begins with the parents, educators and coaches that were sitting in the room.

    “The first thing I wanted to do was let them know that they’re more or less at the front lines, working with the kids that we’re evaluating right now, the college players,” Devaney said. “I couldn’t stress enough that the quality of kids that we’re getting coming through, that we saw at the combine. Somebody in their upbringing is doing a great job. Whether it be family, teachers, coaches, the quality of the kids this year is tremendous. I wanted to stress to keep up the good work, because they are doing a great job.”

    Devaney also spoke about the importance of finding a balance of talented athletes that are high-character guys. He explained the process of searching for players in free agency and how character issues can dissuade them from going after some of the top names on the market, talent-wise.

    “We spend as much time evaluating and discussing the character part (as the on-field part),” Devaney said. “The on-field stuff is almost easy. It’s there in black and white, you look at the tape. But there’s more than that. It’s been proven. There have been teams that spend a lot of money in free agency signing players over the past few years, but not the right type of player. Maybe talented players, but not the right fit. We’re more interested in bringing in talented players that are the right fit, that care about the Rams and winning championships.”

    He talked about the importance of contacting not only the coaches and front-office personnel that have worked with free agents, but other NFL team staff members, such as the equipment staff, to get a better feel for what a player is like off-the-field.

    Where character comes into play the most in NFL player evaluations is the NFL Draft. A player can help or hurt his draft status by what he does in his personal life. No matter how talented a player is, if he is considered a risk, he will slip to a later round where a team is better able to take a risk because they will have less invested not only financially, but if the player doesn’t pan out.

    Devaney showed the superintendents a copy of a player evaluation form that the Rams college scouts fill out while evaluating the players entering April’s NFL Draft. The front page of the two-sided sheet focuses on the player’s on-field evaluation, while the back page is dedicated to evaluating the player’s character both on and off the field.

    Character is critical in an NFL player’s development. Devaney relayed that it starts at the high school level, and the influences of the people like the superintendents he was speaking to are critical in the development of future NFL athletes.

    “(It’s important for the superintendents) to relay to kids in high school that this does matter,” Devaney said. “What you do now, it’s going to follow you. There’s upside and benefits to doing the right thing. By the same token, guys are penalized that have a history of making bad decisions. There are consequences for your actions, even going back to high school. That was the other thing I wanted to stress, the Rams and the NFL as a whole, we do put a great deal of emphasis on this, and it’s a critical part of our evaluation.”


  2. #2
    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    YES , i saw that ! HE and D. BYRD were there to talk shop about the high character players that NINAFAN , i mean LINEHAN lets play on the team . hheeeee

  3. #3
    BM_Face's Avatar
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    I cannot find fault with anything Devaney said. Character is a priority when drafting players. Great players who do positive things in the community are more valuable than those who make poor choices. Teams are less likley than ever to spend a boat-load of money on a player who has questionable character. GoRams!

  4. #4
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    Quote Originally Posted by BM_Face View Post
    I cannot find fault with anything Devaney said. Character is a priority when drafting players. Great players who do positive things in the community are more valuable than those who make poor choices. Teams are less likley than ever to spend a boat-load of money on a player who has questionable character. GoRams!
    That may be true to an extent, but if a player shows promise rest assured someone will take a chance on him rather than take a chance they might lose out on a Pro-Bowl Calibre player which could be used against them.:\
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    The best example of high character being of utmost importance is Tony Dungy. If a guy doesn't have high character and give back to his community both in setting a good example as well as charitable and personal functions, he has no place on his team. They find players that fit their scheme and have something that too few players today do, heart. The players will give it their all and will plug the gaps when injuries hit and starts leave in free agency.

    If there was a team to try to model ours after, I would have to say the Colts would be the best choice.

  6. #6
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    Quote Originally Posted by BM_Face View Post
    I cannot find fault with anything Devaney said. Character is a priority when drafting players. Great players who do positive things in the community are more valuable than those who make poor choices. Teams are less likley than ever to spend a boat-load of money on a player who has questionable character. GoRams!
    Leonard Little says, "hello.":x

  7. #7
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoriaRam View Post
    Leonard Little says, "hello.":x
    Did Devaney play a role in bringing Little to the Rams?

    When Devaney speaks to a group of school superintendents, he is not just speaking to a group of school superintendents. His message is intended for current players as well; Devaney says "hello back" to Leonard Little. I welcome a strong moral compass in our FO.

  8. #8
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    In looking at long-term franchise success, I think good character, or at least the determination to surround yourself with good character, is vitally important.

    Outstanding talent may well be at a premium, but I would say that bad character ultimately impairs that talent. You can look at people like Byrd, Wroten, and Terrell (all pre-Devaney) if you want proof.

    Probably one of the more important items of news about Devaney and his approach since he arrived.

  9. #9
    PeoriaRam's Avatar
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    Quote Originally Posted by BM_Face View Post
    Did Devaney play a role in bringing Little to the Rams?

    When Devaney speaks to a group of school superintendents, he is not just speaking to a group of school superintendents. His message is intended for current players as well; Devaney says "hello back" to Leonard Little. I welcome a strong moral compass in our FO.
    Devaney also had the opportunity to simply cut Little this offseason, but didn't. That kind of implies a willingness to ignore character issues in certain players.

  10. #10
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoriaRam View Post
    Devaney also had the opportunity to simply cut Little this offseason, but didn't. That kind of implies a willingness to ignore character issues in certain players.
    This is a needless attack on Little and Devaney. Little has managed to keep himself clean for the past few years. Don't confuse his past problems with the teams problems today.

  11. #11
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    Agreed, Mik. :r

    Great to hear of Devaney addressing the importance of character!

    And I also agree with Teke regarding Coach Dungy's moral criteria and set of values, a true Model in leadership, discipline and community work, team wide. I'm not sure if every Colts player fulfills that role but the point of having heart is well taken.

    This will influence and improve the Rams overall stance as a team and, hopefully, will increase performance!

  12. #12
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    Re: Devaney Discusses Character

    by by Byrdy and maybe Wrotten and Brown

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  1. -03-15-2008, 11:31 PM

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