CHICAGO – Laremy Tunsil says he took money from an Ole Miss football coach.
Once projected the No. 1 pick in the draft, Tunsil slid to No. 13 where he was taken by the Miami Dolphins.
Tunsil said others were responsible for a social media nightmare that contributed to his slide to near the middle of the first round at the auditorium at Roosevelt University Thursday night. However, he confirmed the accuracy of a text conversation in which he asked for money to help with his rent.
Minutes before the draft a video showing Tunsil smoking something and using drug paraphernalia appeared on his Twitter account.
The Twitter account was quickly shut down.
Later on Instagram screen shots of a conversation that appeared to take place between Tunsil and an Ole Miss football staffer went live.
In the conversation Tunsil refers to himself as “LT” and addresses someone as Mr. John.
Ole Miss assistant AD for football operations is John Miller.
In the screen shots Tunsil tells Miller he needs help paying his rent. The response tells Tunsil to “see Barney next week.”
Barney Farrar is another Ole Miss staffer.
Tunsil confirmed the conversation was true. When asked if there was an exchange of money between he and a coach he at first said, “I wouldn’t say all that, I wouldn’t say that.”
He then said the conversation was true.
“Those were true. Like I said, I made a mistake of that happening.”
He was asked again if there was an exchange of money between himself and a coach, and Tunsil responded, “I’d have to say yeah.”
Tunsil’s press conference was then quickly cut off by an NFL employee.
The Tunsil story cast a cloud over what should have been a big night for Ole Miss with three first-round draft picks, a program first.
Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was taken with the 23 pick by the Minnesota Vikings, and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche went to the Arizona Cardinals with the 29 pick.
Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones was not selected in the first round.
Many mock drafts kept Nkemdiche in the first round though off-field issues had hurt the stock of a player once considered a possible top five pick.
The athletic Jones rose in draft speculation with workouts much like he did in the recruiting rankings when he hit the all-star circuit following the 2012 high school season.
Tunsil did not speculate on who might have hacked his accounts. He and his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, have a bad history together, and Miller filed a lawsuit against Tunsil earlier this week.
Tunsil was widely considered a leading candidate to be the No. 1 pick when it belonged to the Tennessee Titans. That went by the boards when the Titans traded that pick to the quarterback-needy Los Angeles Rams.
The Titans traded up from No. 15 to No. 8 during the first round but passed on Tunsil in favor of Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin.
The first offensive tackle off the board was Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley who went to Baltimore at No. 6.
Titans GM Jon Robinson at his press conference declined to comment on Tunsil but said, “We’ve liked Jack for a long time.”