An apparently drunk Marc Tyler, a redshirt senior running back with legitimate NFL hopes, was recorded on video by TMZ reporters outside of a West Hollywood club last week making several controversial claims, including a biggie -- that USC players were paid to play.
The comment came in response to a question by TMZ reporters about whether he'll make more money in the NFL or playing at USC. Tyler's response was "USC, they're breaking bread." It was one of several outrageous claims, including a lewd comment about USC running backs and celebrity Kim Kardashian.
Head coach Lane Kiffin reaction to the controversy came yesterday as he suspended Tyler, last season's leading rusher, from all team-related activities, including the season-opening game September 3rd against Minnesota. There was no timetable provided as to when Tyler's suspension might end.
In a statement released by the school, Tyler apologized.
"I am disappointed that I let down all the people who have supported me as I have been working through some personal issues," Tyler said. "I realize how my behavior and my statements, even though I was joking, can reflect poorly on so many people. As a veteran player, I should know that my job is to be an example for the younger guys."
The apology might be enough to get Tyler back into the USC program. It won't be enough to save Tyler's draft stock with some NFL clubs.
Prior to the TMZ video, Tyler had been involved in two other alcohol-related events in just the past four months. Tyler was brought before USC's Office of Student Judicial Affairs in early July to explain two incidents that occurred in April.
According to Gary Klein of the LA Times, one of the incidents occurred when "he allegedly spit on a female student while intoxicated and another in which he allegedly inappropriately touched another female student at a bar near campus."
Tyler, 5-10 and 230 pounds is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 10 rated running back for the 2012 draft. Starting eight of 13 games for the Trojans last year, Tyler led the team with career highs in rushing yardage (913), rushing touchdowns (9) and total touchdowns (10).
A bruising back with limited speed, he projects best as a power back working as part of a rotation in the NFL. Some scouts graded Tyler as high as a 5th round prospect heading into the season. With Tyler's senior season in doubt, he may be left little option but to at least explore the supplemental draft.
Want to see the video yourself? The video is linked here.