No plans to take on NFL through the courts
The former agent for Mike Williams acknowledged Thursday that the Southern California wide receiver, denied reinstatement by the NCAA earlier in the day, is unlikely to file any court motions aimed at forcing the NFL to hold a supplemental draft for him.
"I don't know that it makes any sense at this point," Mike Azzarelli, a close friend of Williams and his family for many years, told ESPN.com. "The NFL and the NCAA basically did the same thing. They dragged out the process long enough that it became cumbersome and finally things got too late. The NCAA said it would be an expedited hearing, then took three months to investigate every phone call that Mike made, every expense he had."
Azzarelli had said in April, when he terminated his professional relationship with Williams in an attempt to facilitate his return to the Trojans, that he had already drawn up the legal paperwork to petition the NFL for a supplemental draft if the NCAA did not reinstate Williams' eligibility. Azzarelli said he would seek redress from a Tampa-area court "the day after" any negative NCAA ruling.
But that, of course, was nearly three months ago, when the NCAA and school officials were suggesting that the matter might be resolved in a week or two. Azzarelli and his partner, Ken Harris, also went to great lengths to detail every cent spent on Williams, so that he could reimburse them in accordance with NCAA guidelines.
Azzarelli, who likely will represent Williams when he is eligible for the 2005 NFL draft, acknowledged all Williams can do now is continue to work out and get himself into optimum condition for next year. It is all but a given that, since Williams will be eligible for next year's draft, he will be invited to the Indianapolis combine workouts
"It's just a shame it came down this way," Azzarelli said.
Even had Williams petitioned the courts to force the NFL to convene a special draft for him at this late date, it is highly unlikely such a gambit would have succeeded.
League owners, at the annual NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., in March, quietly voted to hold just one supplemental draft per year. League officials also insist that they apprised Williams and his family of the potential perils of leaving school to enter the draft as an underclassman.
In two college seasons, Williams had 176 catches for 2,570 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli who covers the NFL for ESPN.com.