Sherman, Leach in war of words

Updated: April 30, 2009, 11:38 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Texas A&M is scheduled to play Texas Tech on Oct. 24 in Lubbock. If the teams' respective coaches keep up their current exchange, that game could be the grudge match of the year in the Big 12.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman was not amused when Texas Tech coach Mike Leach brought up ex-Aggies QB Stephen McGee's draft selection in the midst of questioning NFL teams' draft decisions on the Red Raiders' star players.

And he was still not happy when Leach, despite saying he didn't intend to offend his in-state rivals, wondered aloud where Sherman would have drafted McGee -- who sat much of his senior season -- if he were still an NFL coach.

On Monday, Leach, upset that wide receiver Michael Crabtree slipped to 10th in the draft and quarterback Graham Harrell wasn't chosen at all, noted that McGee was chosen in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys.

"I'm happy for Stephen McGee," Leach said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "The Dallas Cowboys like him more than his coaches at A&M did."

That didn't go over so well with Sherman or McGee.

"I don't understand Coach Leach's comments about Stephen McGee," Sherman replied, according to the report. "He was named our starter until he got injured. ... Coach Leach is in no position to comment about my relationship with Stephen McGee."

"I don't know where that comment came from or who it was directed at," McGee added, according to the report. "But I am shocked because my time at A&M was very special to me. Obviously, I got injured, and many people think that Coach Sherman benched me. That's just not true."

Leach tried to smooth things over in reply.

"There's been far more rhetoric around this than I ever would have expected," Leach said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "Under the best of circumstances, there is some variance in how people assess and discuss quarterbacks because everybody is looking for different things."

But then he brought up McGee again.

"But based on all the fuss and commotion on this, I can't help but wonder what round Coach Sherman would have drafted Stephen McGee, given the fact he was once a head coach in the NFL," Leach added, according to the report.

Sherman was not pleased.

"There is nothing Mike Leach could ever say that would offend me," Sherman said in a statement. "I do find it unfortunate, however, that a college coach feels the need to question the handling of a player by a staff particularly without any knowledge of the facts or the extent of a player's injury. It is equally bothersome that a football coach would question the draft status of a player. This doesn't make any sense to me.

"I have stated numerous times before the draft I thought Stephen McGee was a late third or early fourth-round pick. It is apparent the Dallas Cowboys felt the same way. It was a great pick."

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