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Tyler Bray has one more chance to get it right

By Steve Williams

Tyler Bray is not a role model. This is not a news flash. Many of us have known this for a long time.

Even Derek Dooley, but he ignored the fact for the sake of winning, and still didn’t win. Maybe he would have been better off playing a less talented quarterback that had role model qualities. But I digress.

What Bray is is an example of what not to be.

Attention parents of talented high school football players who have college potential and NFL aspirations. Go back and review Bray’s collegiate career at the University of Tennessee. Take notes on what not to do. Pass along this information to your son.

If only Jeff Bray, Tyler’s dad, had taken notes on a non-role model player years ago and passed the information of what not to do on to his young son.

Look how that would have changed history.

There wouldn’t have been any double throat-slashing gesture directed at the North Carolina bench in the 2010 Music City Bowl.

Bray and Da’Rick Rogers would have cared so much and played so hard, Tennessee would still have that long winning streak over Kentucky. And Dooley could have coached another game in a lower-tier bowl at the end of the 2011 season. (Notice I didn’t say win a lower-tier bowl game).

Cars wouldn’t have been damaged by beer bottles and golf balls tossed from a balcony.

Our former head coach wouldn’t have had to eat crow for bragging on Bray’s improved maturity at SEC Media Days, or make light of his quarterback’s immature actions that occurred less than 48 hours after representing the Vols in coat and tie at the conference’s preseason event. “Obviously, he needs to work on his accuracy,” joked Dooley. “He missed the trash can.”

Our quarterback could have been preparing for the 2012 season instead of having to lecture school kids on boat safety and/or do a commercial on boat safety, as punishment for playing a dangerous game like “chicken” with another Jet Skier on Tellico Lake last Fourth of July.

In a Quarterback Session on ESPN with Jon Gruden prior to the draft, Bray could have said his game preparation was a “10” instead of a “seven or eight” and there wouldn’t have been any off-the-field antics to discuss.

But history wasn’t changed.

Bray led the Vols to a third losing season in a row. He had some good games, some big passing numbers, but he didn’t get it done when it really mattered. Many of us, including myself, expected bigger and better results from Bray. We had seen his big-time arm. We have since learned, without a doubt, there’s more to it than that when it comes to being a successful quarterback.

In the recent NFL draft, the owners and general managers and head coaches of NFL teams didn’t ignore what Dooley had. They passed over Bray, even though he was reported to be the seventh best quarterback in the draft. Going in, most experts expected Bray to be picked in the second or third round.

One by one, another name was called in the draft process. Eleven QBs were drafted. But not Bray.

Why?

The best answer I’ve heard: A NFL quarterback has to be a leader of men.

Bray hasn’t shown he can do that.

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs have given him another opportunity, signing him to a free-agent contract. He is scheduled to report to a three-day rookie minicamp Friday, May 10.

The first thing Bray needs to do, if he hasn’t already, is tell his father, as respectful as he can, that he’ll speak for himself from this point on.

Last week, Jeff Bray reportedly spoke out about his son not being drafted. He said it was “brutal” for his son to go through.

“I know I’m his parent, but I don’t see how 11 quarterbacks get picked, and the best quarterback physically is not picked.”

It seems clear Daddy Bray doesn’t want to own up to the facts of why his son wasn’t drafted. My guess is he’s probably a big part of the reason why Tyler hasn’t grown up yet anyway.

Secondly, Tyler Bray needs to go back and review his past, particularly his collegiate career, and publicly come clean.

It’s really very simple. Tyler’s got to become a man before he becomes a NFL quarterback. There is no other way.

If he does, he will have a chance to become a role model, too.

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