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Robert Nkemdiche re-focused on NFL Draft after December incident

In this Nov. 7, 2015, file photo,

In this Nov. 7, 2015, file photo, Mississippi defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche stretches before an NCAA college football game against Arkansas in Oxford, Miss. Credit: AP / Thomas Graning

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, one of the most talented players in this year’s draft, talked Friday about an off-field incident in December that put his first-round status in jeopardy.

According to Atlanta police, Nkemdiche fell off the balcony of a hotel and was charged with marijuana possession.

Nkemdich owned up to the incident on Friday, telling reporters he was embarrassed by what happened, but said he was drunk and did not use marijuana.

“It was a rash decision by me,” Nkemdiche told reporters. “It was uncharacteristic and that’s not who I am. That’s not what I stand for, that’s not what my family stands for. It was embarrassing for me and my whole family and the whole Ole Miss family.”

Nkemdiche said he has been asked by NFL teams interested in him about the incident, and that he thinks they believe him.

“It’s the truth and it’s what I’m going to keep moving forward with,” he said. “I’m going to stick to my story. That’s what it is. I’m going to keep moving forward, being in the moment and get ready to show out (in drills) on Sunday.”

It remains to be seen what impact, if any, the Dec. 12 incident will have on Nkemdiche’s draft status.

“I’ve lazered my focus to what’s important and kept away from things that can take football away from me and jeopardize my career because I love the game so much. I never want it to be taken away from me, and I know if I’m in situations like that it can be taken away from me. I’ve just cleaned up a little bit.”

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