Honesty helping Mardy Gilyard

INDIANAPOLIS -- At the NFL combine, where character issues and past transgressions can influence a player's draft stock, University of Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard prefers to be an open book.

"There's no shame in my game," Gilyard said.

Gilyard is very honest about once losing his scholarship because of academics. He admits at the time he was "a real knuckle-head kid. Arrogant. Cocky. Immature."

The result was about a six-month period when Gilyard was homeless. He lived out of his car -- a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am -- while working four jobs and trying to get back in school and on his feet.

Gilyard is not ashamed to share his story.

"I speak it truthfully and as gracefully as I can," Gilyard said. "I try not to sugarcoat anything. When you get caught up in sugarcoating you might slip in a lie here and there and that's what not what I'm about."

Gilyard's perseverance makes him one of the more intriguing prospects in the NFL draft. No one will question his mental toughness, as he's worked his way from the bottom to become one of the top receivers available.

Scouts Inc. has Gilyard rated as the eighth-rated receiver entering the NFL combine. That likely will land him somewhere in the second or third round, although his draft stock could change after interviews and workouts.

But Gilyard's ability to get deep should be attractive to a lot of teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.

"I think my strengths as a wide receiver are I bring speed and good hands to the game," Gilyard said. "And with that in mind -- I've got speed and I've got hands -- when I do get the ball in my hands, that's what makes me extremely dangerous. I'm good at making those yards after catch."