Saints gamble on former Florida State QB

Updated: April 24, 2005, 10:45 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints took a gamble on Adrian McPherson.

The talented and troubled quarterback, who threw his college career at Florida State away by betting on football games and committing a string of felonies, was selected Sunday in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

"I'd be lying if I didn't think there was some risk," Saints director of player personnel Rick Mueller said. "But the upside is tremendous. He has rare talent and athletic ability."

There was a time when McPherson looked like a can't miss prospect. He was the first player in Florida high school history to earn both Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball honors.

He had an inconsistent sophomore season at Florida State, but his play on the field was the least of his troubles.

McPherson was kicked off the team after the 2002 season and arrested two days later.

He faced felony charges of stealing a blank check and with receiving stolen goods after the check was cashed for $3,500. A second felony case charged him with cashing a series of bad checks, each for $76.

A trial on a misdemeanor gambling charge -- he was accused of betting on football games, including his own -- earlier ended in a mistrial.

"The situation back then was I was just so used to people doing everything for me," McPherson said. "I just kind of figured I could do what I wanted to do."

In July of 2003, as part of a plea bargain, McPherson pleaded no contest to all charges at his felony trial. He was sentenced to 90 days in a work camp, did 50 hours of community service, and was on probation for 30 months. Probation ended April 18.

"Now I think everything out," McPherson said. "Before I do anything I think about what could possibly happen and the consequences. I think it matured me a lot. It definitely made me a better person."

McPherson tried to enroll at Tennessee State in August, 2003, but was rejected by the school.

He joined the Indiana Firebirds of the Arena Football League early last year. McPherson was the AFL Rookie of the Year and fourth in the league in passing. He also rushed for 19 touchdowns.

His rights were picked up by the Nashville Kats for the 2005 season, but McPherson decided to concentrate on the NFL.

"I thought that eventually someone would give me a chance," McPherson said.

If McPherson had stayed out of trouble and in Florida State, the draft would have gone a lot differently for him, Mueller said.

"He would have played a lot more football if that had been the case and we'd know a lot more about him," Mueller said. "Some of the kids at Florida think he'd be a first-round pick. The skill level is there."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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