It was a long day for Gareon Conley. Not in actual time so much as perceived time. Due to the assault allegation against him that cropped up two days ago, he had no idea if he would go in the first round or fall much farther. We’ve seen it happen. And had he not been drafted, the night after the draft would have felt much longer than the day leading up to it.
It’s easy to understand how Conley would be running the events that led to his allegation through his mind over and over and beating himself up for even putting himself in that position. For at least that part of it, he knows he must take responsibility.
“I could’ve made way better judgment,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could have made a better decision.”
It was the Raiders at 24 overall who would let him off the hook from his draft worries, making the call and ease his mind that he would be living his dream as an NFL draft pick. Reggie McKenzie made the call to personally tell Conley he would be the Raiders’ pick.
“He just told me that he was confident that everything would blow over, he was confident in me and he wanted to pick me,” Conley said of the conversation. “It was just unreal honestly. It was the best moment of my life.”
Any NFL draft pick would probably say that phone call was the highlight of their life. For Conley, it’s an honor made all the more special after the stress of not knowing his fate.
“It made it ten times more special,” said Conley. “Just having that doubt in my mind. Just not knowing, having faith and having doubt. I didn’t know what was going to happen and when it came it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”
Conley will be flying out to Oakland to meet with his new coaches and probably some of his new teammates as well. He will hold his press conference with the media. Then it’s back to Cleveland where he will meet with police for the first time where he hopes he can get the situation resolved and focus on being an NFL player.
It’s important to note that hoping he is cleared of these allegations isn’t about wanting him to ‘get away’ with anything. It’s about hoping it’s simply not true. Both for Conley’s part as well as the alleged victim in this case. The best moment in one person’s life shouldn’t add to the worst moment in someone else’s life.