At the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Cris Carter told incoming players that it’s in their best interests to have a “fall guy” in their crew willing to take the rap and go to jail to keep the player out of trouble.

Those comments were kept under wraps for almost two years and we now know why.

The MMQB’s Robert Klemko was actually present for those comments, but couldn’t report on them, because he agreed to the session off the record.

I agreed to the NFL’s condition that I would not enter the small group sessions, and there would be one or two things the league could look back on and say, ‘that was off the record.’ When the public relations or marketing arm representing an org or a player facilitates access such as this, there is often a verbal agreement that certain details observed in the course of reporting may be negotiated for omission. Personally, I only agree to these omissions when the subject matter is immaterial to what I gather is the larger point of the story, which, in the case of the symposium, I believed Carter’s comment was.

When Carter said the words, “have a fall guy” in what was a light-hearted and animated session that at times made league employees in attendance cringe, the NFL’s Kim Fields looked my way and said, “that can’t go in the story.” I was torn.

Klemko says he wanted to reports his story, so he chose to keep the comments off the record for the NFL, thus possibly costing himself the scoop.

By Glenn Erby

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