Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. He is projected as a first-round pick. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)
Indianapolis — During his time at Michigan, offensive tackle Taylor Lewan developed a reputation for being a menace on the field, which may help or hurt his stock in the NFL draft depending on the team.
But during his news conference at the combine Thursday, Lewan tried to dispel two alleged off-field incidents that also could play a role in where he is drafted in May.
Lewan denied a police report that he threatened a woman who accused former Wolverines kicker Brendan Gibbons of sexual misconduct. Gibbons was expelled by the university in December over the alleged incident from Nov. 22, 2009, though he was never charged.
“That’s definitely a situation between those two people,” Lewan said at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I’m not here to protect Brendan or the young lady. That’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to talk about football.
“I can say that I’ve never said those things. I’ve said a lot of dumb things in my life, but those are not things that I’ve said, and like I said before, that’s definitely a very touchy subject. I would never disrespect a woman like that. I like to consider myself a guy that likes to hold doors instead of threaten people. That’s not the kind of person I am.”
In addition to the allegations by the woman, Lewan was accused of assaulting an Ohio State fan in Ann Arbor on Nov. 30.
“I wasn’t in any fight of any kind,” he said. “I was actually breaking something up, and some guy said that I slugged him. But that’s not who I am off the field.
“It might seem that way because of the way I play football, but that’s not me as a person.”
Lewan is projected by most analysts as a first-round pick and the third-best offensive tackle in the draft behind Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Auburn’s Greg Robinson.
Lewan also may benefit from his experience in last year’s Outback Bowl loss when he spent much of the game blocking South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who may be the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
“Just taking the (extra month) I had to watch his film, I put myself in an NFL situation,” Lewan said. “I spent the extra hours at night, which you have to do when this is your job, and I felt like I played one of my best games against him.”
Lewan wasn’t responsible for the bone-crushing hit Clowney laid on Vincent Smith.
While Lewan is considered a top prospect, he said he doesn’t have a specific goal of where he wants to be drafted.
“I just want to be employed at the end of May,” Lewan said. “I’m 22 years old, and I’m about to be living with my mother. So April is going to be a long month.”
Schofield OK in shadow
Fellow Michigan offensive tackle Michael Schofield is trying to make a name for himself at the combine, too.
He’s projected as a mid- to late-round pick and said Thursday he doesn’t mind being in Lewan’s shadow.
“It never really bothered me,” Schofield said. “I’ve always been more of the quiet guy and Taylor’s more of the outspoken guy, so it kind of worked out that way that he was the one always doing the media interviews and I kind of just sat back and did my own thing.”
In addition to Clowney, Schofield said the toughest matchup he faced was against Michigan State defensive ends Shilique Calhoun and Marcus Rush.
L.A. tight end likes Lions
Dixie State (Utah) tight end Joe Don Duncan grew up in Los Angeles, and without a local NFL team, he explained that he eventually became a Lions fan.
“I was a huge Joey Harrington fan,” Duncan said. “So when he got drafted by the Lions, I figured I might as well jump on an NFL team now. So it ended up being the Lions.
“I went through some tough years. They’re on the rise, though, and they’ve been fun to watch the past couple years.”
The Lions may need a tight end if they don’t re-sign Brandon Pettigrew, and Duncan said he’d relish the opportunity to join his favorite team.
“I’m a tight end, and I’m available,” he said. “I look good in blue.”