Andy Dalton scrutinized for red hair?

April, 22, 2011
4/22/11
10:30
AM ET
Of all the things NFL general managers and scouts analyze, this one has got to be right up there with the most preposterous.

[+] EnlargeTexas Christian quarterback Andy Dalton
AP Photo/Darron CummingsWould an NFL team really consider not drafting TCU quarterback Andy Dalton because of his hair color?
Andy Dalton is being scrutinized for his red hair. As a fellow redhead, I have got to borrow from "Into the Night" radio host Tony Bruno and say, "This is an outrage!"

I know what they say about redheads, that we are fiery and stubborn with bad tempers. We have long been the "scorned" redheaded stepchildren, the ones targeted in "Kick a Ginger Day" that sadly and outrageously led to kids getting beaten up a few years ago. We get it. We look different.

But if you are really thinking about not drafting a guy because of his hair color, then you are just looking for a reason to go with somebody else. Question his arm strength, his aptitude, his ability, his leadership, his character, his intangibles all you want. Hair color is generally not on the ol' scouts check list.

What should be on it: his accomplishments on the field. His red hair never precluded him from winning a school-record 42 games and a Rose Bowl. That success had a direct impact on TCU getting an invite to the Big East. He also is a leader on campus, a guy who has counseled little boys with red hair because they got teased and tormented the way I did when I was a kid.

I had a conversation with Dalton about this last summer, and asked whether he got teased for his red hair when he was growing up. He said he never did, that he always felt comfortable being a red head even though he usually was the only one around who looked different from everyone else.

Andy Dalton just made it seem cool to be a red head.

But not cool enough for one NFL coach, who told Peter King of Sports Illustrated: "Has there ever been a red-headed quarterback in the NFL who's really done well? It sounds idiotic, but is there any way that could be a factor? We've wondered."

It does not just sound idiotic. It is idiotic.

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