2014 NFL Draft: Tracy Moore looks forward to a clean slate in the pros

Ronald Martinez

The NFL is more than a career opportunity for the Oklahoma State wide receiver, it's a chance to start over.

Tracy Moore has taken his licks and rightfully so. The former Oklahoma State wide receiver is working out and hoping to catch the eyes of pro teams before the 2014 NFL Draft, but a major portion of the work ahead will be explaining his behavior off of the field. A stretch of legal issues, including one arrest, will do that to a person's reputation.

Yet Moore insists he's a changed man. The talent is there. The size is there. For most teams, the question marks surrounding his character will be the major hurdle. But Moore is quick to admit his mistakes and to own up to a season of immaturity. He says he's a changed man. If that's the case, he might just turn out to be one of the hidden gems of the draft class.

We recently caught up with Moore after a daily workout at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami to ask him about his playing experience and what it's like to be passed over for the NFL Combine.

When you're done with your daily routine, what's the way you spend the rest of the day?

Lay down. [Laughs] I've kind of developed a relationship with some guys down here, so me and a couple of guys will sit on the balcony and talk about our college experiences and stuff. We're in Miami so it's pretty nice. There's a lot of stuff to do.

Glad you mentioned that. How are you dealing with that?

Yeah, it's definitely a change. While you're in college, you see guys coming and going so there's a change on that side, too. Some of your friends have gone, but now I'm the person that's left. Now they're calling and seeing how I'm doing. The people I'm used to seeing every day I haven't seen in months. So it's different.

Are you sad at that?

Definitely. You have certain emotions and feelings, but knowing the day was coming, you're kind of prepared for it. In my position, having another goal in mind helps. You stay focused on that goal instead of focusing on the past.

Tell me about the person, not the player, you were entering college and who you are now.

I don't think it's possible for anybody to go off to college and come back the same. You definitely change whether it's for the better or the worse. In my experience, I've changed dramatically for the better. College is an experience. You don't have your parents with you. You have to live on your own. Life hits you pretty quick that freshman year.

For me personally, I came from a really good home. I think everybody was for me and everybody was a friend. Then you realize that's not true. Some people out there are out to get you, while others really are your friends. The biggest thing for me was learning that I couldn't trust everybody.

One of the biggest stories of the season and offseason in the NFL has been the locker room culture at the pro level. The drama around the Miami Dolphins and the league's proposed changes. Just curious about your take there.

In my opinion, what happens in a locker room should stay in the locker room. It's like a family. You wouldn't have an argument with your wife and then run and tell the world about it. Everybody in the locker room should have that bond that whatever happens, we deal with it there. The coaches are the parents of the group. They go to the higher level and they deal with it. You don't use social media to badmouth a teammate. It just makes more problems.

Let's talk about your playing career. I'm thinking of your game where you had four touchdowns against Arizona. That has to be a highlight. Was that the highlight or is there another?

For me, yes, that was a highlight game. That's not just because of the stat line or the type of game that I had. Before that game, I'd actually cried on the field. We meet up as a team when we first get to a stadium, whether home or away. We always group up and pray and I was just bawling in the middle of the field before the game, because I'd been in trouble that summer leading up to that game and I was suspended the first game.

I had gotten in trouble a couple times and I figured my career was over. I figured no NFL team wanted me. All these people on Twitter and Instagram were badmouthing me, calling me a thug and stuff. It was real discouraging. So to actually come out and perform like that kind of made everybody forget about the immaturity that I was dealing with at the time. Those incidents helped me grow up, so it was a step forward for me. It was a big step and I thank God for it.

Do you feel like that cloud still hangs over your head?
I was immature. I grew up from it. I learned from it and it won't happen again.

Honestly, no I don't. People will bring it up, and it's something that people will question about me who don't really know me. It's the first thing that pops up when you put my name in Google. So people will see that and form their own opinion. When they bring it up to me, I'll let them know. I was immature. I grew up from it. I learned from it and it won't happen again.

The NFL Combine came and went. Was it hard to watch that and not be there?

It wasn't hard to watch it. I watched pieces of it when the receivers went. It gave me a chance to sit back and reflect on what I really want to do. Being invited last year and not being invited this year opens your eyes. You realize that the NFL really is a business. Nothing is promised. The whole year I was planning on going to the Combine, so to not be able to go... that's been a dream of mine to go and perform well. So to have that taken was discouraging at first, but God has a plan for everything.

I assume that adds to the chip on the shoulder, so to speak.

Oh, yeah. That definitely made my motivation to get up at 6:30 a lot easier. [Laughs] It made it all easier thinking that I have to work three times as hard to get back to where they think I was. Honestly the hardest part is not knowing -- not knowing what they're thinking if I got worse or better. So it's motivation to pick things up and not slack off, even for one day.

Lot of years in the Big 12. Who's the biggest challenge at defensive back you've faced?

In games or in practice, because Justin Gilbert is probably the best defensive back that I've went against. Game-time, it'd have to be Prince Amukamara. He plays for the Giants now, but he was challenging because he was a bigger corner. He was my size. I'm used to smaller corners and just moving them out of the way to go where I want to. But then I'm looking at a guy bigger than me. That's something I wasn't used to, but I handled it pretty well. I knew I could do the stuff I needed to do; I'd just never had to do it. But he changed my game a bit and opened my eyes. He was a worthy opponent.

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