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Jeff SchultzJeff Schultz

Mettenberger flagged for diluted drug test

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Zach Mettenberger submitted a suspicious urine sample at the NFL draft combine. (Jason Getz/AJC

Zach Mettenberger submitted a suspicious urine sample at the NFL draft combine. (Jason Getz/AJC

Few have ever questioned Zach Mettenberger’s talent as a college and potential NFL quarterback. But the former Georgia and LSU player is raising some eyebrows for the wrong reasons again.

Pro Football Talk first reported that Mettenberger, who is coming off of a torn ACL, submitted a diluted urine sample when he was at the NFL scouting combine. The league generally considers a diluted sample the equivalent of a positive drug test.

There might be an innocent explanation for this. Mettenberger’s agents and physical therapist both claim that the watered-down sample is the result of him over-hydrating after experiencing cramps at the combine. Jason Eliowitz, the physical therapist, said, Mettenberger was advised to drink as much as “1 to 1.5 gallons of of water per day, to increase his consumption of foods high in potassium, and to increase his sodium intake.”

Fox Sports reported Mettenberger was one of 10 red-flagged drug tests (either failed or diluted) at the combine.

This diluted sample doesn’t mean Mettenberger was trying to mask performance enhancing drugs, but PEDs can be a quicker way for somebody to recover from an injury.

Mettenberger has NFL talent. Two months ago, former quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski ranked him as a better pro prospect than Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Louisville’s Terry Bridgewater. But he comes with some baggage, having been kicked out of Georgia after pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery, stemming from an incident in a Remerton, Ga., bar in 2010.

Mettenberger transferred to a community college in Kansas for one season, then to LSU for three years. He suffered a torn ACL in the Tigers’ final regular season game against Arkansas.

On ESPN’s “NFL Live” in April, Jaworski said of Mettenberger, “This is the guy that can change the draft, Zach Mettenberger. He has the big, strong arm, the prototypical NFL quarterback, at 6-foot-5, 228 pounds, coached by Cam Cameron down there at LSU, pro-style offense.”

Mettenberger has been projected to go in the third or fourth round. It remains to be seen whether the diluted drug test will hurt his draft stock.

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