Belcher trying to repair image in hopes of draft

The times when Damarlo Belcher is most under a microscope these days are not when he’s running the 40-yard dash or executing routes and catching passes. It’s when he stops running and has to look scouts in the eye and tell them how the man who led the Big Ten in receptions in 2010 was kicked off his college team with a month left in his senior season.

That’s what he had to do at Indiana’s Pro Day Monday morning at Mellencamp Pavilion. The eight NFL scouts who were there circled around Belcher for several minutes asking the obvious questions.

“Basically, they wanted to know why I got kicked off the team,” Belcher said. “I told them why. You know, that’s all they wanted to know really, because my family and everything else talks for itself. They just wanted to know why I got kicked off the team. I had to come clean with that.”

And after flatly denying the reason several times since his dismissal for a “violation of team rules,” Belcher finally confirmed what that violation was.

“It was a failed DT,” Belcher said. “Failed a drug test. I tried to keep it low key. They had to know sooner or later. I just tried to keep it a secret all the way until then.”

So now the world knows, and most importantly, the people who decide whether he has a professional football know. And it’s now up to Belcher to prove to them that despite that information — and despite a more strict conduct policy in the NFL that has general managers and personnel directors being much more careful now about the character of the players they draft — that he’s still worth a chance.

He first had to explain how and why it happened.

“I just basically told them that I was hanging around the wrong group of guys,” Belcher said. “Easily got influenced to do the wrong things when things aren’t going right. I basically told them man, I just gotta watch who I hang around with and watch my peers, because it’s easy to do bad things when those guys aren’t doing the same things as you. I just told them my word is my bond and I won’t let the same things happen again at the next level.”

Belcher is hopeful that those who have been around him will vouch for his personality and tell those scouts that he is more than just that failed drug test. It appears that the man who dismissed him, coach Kevin Wilson, will be one of those in his corner. Wilson has allowed Belcher to use IU’s weight room and practice facilities to train through December —before he left school to train in his hometown of Fort Wayne — and of course to participate in Monday’s Pro Days. The two appeared to be on good terms Monday, shaking hands and talking while watching the other eight seniors who were participating in the event.

“I really appreciate that,” Belcher said. “I still talk to Wilson to this day. He still wants me to finish school. We’re still on a good note. I thank Wilson for letting me come out here and do the pro day. … Me and Coach Wilson are still on a good note.”

Belcher will have questions to answer beyond character issues alone. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder wasn’t having a great senior season before he was dismissed. That was in part due to injuries and in part because the Hoosiers were shuffling quarterbacks trying to find a replacement for Ben Chappel, but Belcher has already heard scouts have knocks on him.

“A lot of scouts questioned my speed and my explosiveness,” Belcher said. “That’s one of the things I wanted to showcase out here today when I was running my routes was my explosiveness. Hopefully I did that.”

Belcher said he will continue to train in Fort Wayne with the training group Athletes With Purpose. He will also attend another combine in Detroit in approximately a month.

Belcher was one of nine players who participated in Pro Day on Monday. Also participating were linebacker Jeff Thomas, offensive tackle Andrew McDonald, defensive ends Darius Johnson and Fred Jones, safeties Chris Adkins, Donnell Jones and Jarrell Drane (who was limited) and wide receiver Dre Muhammad.


  1. There are many who thought Wilson was too hard on players during the season and took every chance to question him especially when Belcher was dismissed. Now the truth is finally out there and can be discussed.

    What this shows is Wilson’s dedication to do things the right way. It can never be easy to dismiss one of your better players on a new team, but it needed to be done and the message sent to remaining players.

    Now the character that Coach Wilson is showing. He has a player who messed up, took his punishment, has reconciled with his coach and accepted his own responsibility to the point that Wilson is willing to stand in his corner and back a kid he had to dismiss.

    Good luck in your future Belcher, hopefully you get your degree and go on to a prosperous career, in the NFL or in your field of study.

  2. That speaks well for both men, IMHO. Good for Coach Wilson staying in the young man’s corner and helping him advance himself when there is nothing in it for him.

  3. Coach Wilson has been a model of character and integrity, often by refusing to answer attacks on him for holding all his players to high standards. Those standards and their influence on the individuals who play for him are reflected in the comments made by Belcher and give evidence why many of us were and continue to be that in Coach Wilson we have the right man to create a new culture of Hoosier football.

    What is often lost in the abuse and overstated negativity that continually undermined the football program as it goes forward is that leaders lead and that’s why Coach Wilson is so elemental top the future of our University and its athletic programs.

    I sincerely hope that whatever his professional career outcome, Marlo Belcher will take away the true value and and his life will reflect the glory and merit in being a Hoosier and playing under Coach Wilson.

  4. I like the human approach to solve this problem and the outcome coach Wilson and the AD allowed. I also will give Damarlo the credit to move on and focus on the future; degree, and NFL.

    Bottom line, Damarlo was a team captain and games away from being the most productive IU receiver ever.

    Every NFL team would like a 6’5” receiver with 4.4 speed…… I just hope Damarlo can deliver something close to these results in the IU’s Pro Day.
    Your welcome in Chicago Damarlo……

  5. Wilson did what he had to do and my hat’s off to him. You can’t have the ‘stars’ picking out which rules they want to break and which they want to follow. On the other hand, if Damarlo can show the NFL that he can run routes and catch the ball I don’t think they’re going to ignore him because he smoked a little weed in college. But he’s going to have to show them that he isn’t that guy who can’t follow rules anymore.

  6. I should also have added, great comment Mike P, and thanks for a thoughtful, honest and valuable article Dustin.

  7. Belcher actually came out and praised Wilson a month or two ago. I remember someone here posting the link to a good article on a similar topic.

    We are all hoping for a Crean-like story to unfold with Wilson and the program. He seems to have the team culture growing in the right direction. The question is whether he will be lucky enough to get some “Movement”-type talent.

  8. Any results from Pro Day? I have read that Dre Muhammad ran a 4.39 Forty, that’s all I have seen.

  9. Damn I knew Dre had some quicks but no idea he could stop the watch in 4.39. He may get some looks. Is DB truly a 4.4 guy?

  10. Dre was a 4.7 guy, has put in the work the last 6 weeks with AWP to get that 4.39. That 3/10ths is a lot of hard work, but could equal multiple zeros on the end of a paycheck.

  11. Mike P. as you remember I was a BL supporter but I often wonder what guys like DM could have been with more intense and focused coaching. Even w/o AWP he very well could have done low 4.5’s and many times about strutted on Memorial Stadium turf.

  12. Lynch had a few redeeming qualities, but the negatives with him outweighed the positives in my book. Of course that is just my personal opinion.

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