Former Michigan standout defensive end Maurice Hurst, who was seen by many experts as a possible first-round selection at the start of the year, fell all the way to sixth round of last month’s NFL Draft after he was diagnosed with a heart condition in March.
Hurst’s selection by the Oakland Raiders has many team officials concerned that putting him on the field means putting his life in jeopardy.
“I spoke to over 10 scouts, coaches and executives regarding Hurst,” writes Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. “One, in a heated rant, labeled the selection irresponsible by the Raiders because of Hurst’s heart condition (which hasn’t been publicly shared) and hoped the talented defender would ‘never put a f—king helmet on again in his life.’ That sentiment was echoed many times over, with one head coach adding, “Only the Raiders would draft a guy who could literally die on the field from a known condition.”
Hurst, 22, admits that he first learned of his heart ailment in his freshman year at Michigan in 2014, but has declined to publicly discuss its details. However, his condition is reportedly similar to that of defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, who was diagnosed with a heart condition at the Scouting Combine in 2013. Lotulelei’s results were ultimately attributed to a viral infection and he was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the first-round that year. He continues to play in the league, currently with the Buffalo Bills.
Raider’s general manager Reggie McKenzie believes Hurst’s health is a non-factor at the moment and he says they plan to keep close tabs on him.
“He’s good,” McKenzie said. “He does have a heart condition, but it’s a situation that he’ll get checked every year. But right now, he’s good.”