At least one personnel man believes Montez Sweat may be asked to sign a waiver protecting teams from liability over his heart condition.
At least 10 NFL teams have taken Mississippi State defensive end/pass rusher Montez Sweat off their draft boards in advance of the first round of the draft Thursday night, according to two sources. Beyond that, one personnel man said he expected that whichever team drafts him will require Sweat sign a waiver clearing the team of responsibility if he dies while playing or practicing.
“This is serious for a lot of teams,” the personnel man said. “A lot of teams just won’t touch him at all now and, if they do, they want protection. Hopefully, he plays 10 or 12 years, but you don’t want that happening on your watch if it goes wrong. That’s awful for everyone involved.
“Obviously, the kid suffers the most. But you have family to deal with, the fans, the team, the owners. It becomes a nightmare and something you have to live with the rest of your life.”
Doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat for Sweat in the pre-draft process due to an enlarged heart. While numerous athletes have lived with it, it’s estimated that more than 100 athletes under age 35 die each year around the country from a heart attack related to the condition.
The condition was discovered after Sweat wowed scouts and coaches at the combine by running a 4.41-second time in the 40-yard dash. That’s the fastest time run by a defensive lineman in the history of the combine.
Sweat initially planned to attend the draft in Nashville this week but backed out earlier this week. Sweat said he did it to spend time with his family, but others have said they believe Sweat is fearful of a free fall in the draft on Thursday night.
Sweat was considered one of the top prospects in a deep class of pass rushers. He recorded 23.5 sacks and had 105 tackles last season. Scouts have been impressed with his work ethic and love for the game. However, the heart condition may simply be too much for a lot of teams to tolerate.