Why the Falcons gave drug cheat a second chance
The Sunshine Coast Falcons have conceded the signing of former NRL bad boy Jarrod Mullen will likely raise a few eyebrows but the club is willing to give the controversial playmaker a second chance.
Mullen was slapped with a four-year ban by the NRL back in 2017 after he tested positive for the banned steroid Drostanolone by the league's anti-doping body.
That suspension is due to finish this Sunday January 17, allowing the 33-year-old to return to the footy field as of next week and will begin training with the Falcons - Melbourne Storm's feeder club - on Monday.
The former Newcastle Knights star was also sentenced to 300 hours community service in 2020 after pleading guilty to one count of supplying cocaine.
While Mullen has suggested he would like to return to the NRL, the Storm have no involvement in which players are signed with the Falcons because the Sunshine Coast club operates independently from their NRL feeder team.
Watch UFC action with ESPN on KAYO. Stream full Fight Night events live plus prelim fights for PPV events. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly
Falcons CEO Chris Flannery said he was well aware of Mullen's history but wanted to give the former NRL star a second chance.
"When anyone does a Google search on Jarrod Mullen, it brings up some pretty interesting stories I guess," Flannery said.
"We're certainly not signing Jarrod because his name is Jarrod Mullen, we've done our due diligence on him.
"Jarrod is the first to admit that he's made a few mistakes in his past but we believe everyone should get a second chance.
"We've done our due diligence and we've delved into those tough conversations with him around the drugs and the steroid ban.
"We're happy that he's done everything required from a community and personal perspective to get him into the right headspace again.
"We know it's going to raise a few eyebrows but we're happy to give him a chance."
Mullen is attempting to transform his life after admitting to "hitting rock bottom" in the past few years.
"I'd like to thank my family and friends for their support over the past four years and thank the Falcons for giving me this opportunity to get back on the field," Mullen said.
"I've learnt a lot about myself and faced some adversity during my time away from the game but that has only built up my resilience and I'll be using that moving forward into the season ahead with the Falcons."
The Falcons have a history of signing controversial NRL players, with former banned star Sandor Earl linking up with the Sunshine Coast club for the 2018 to 2020 seasons.
Queensland Rugby League managing director Rob Moore called on Mullen to set a good example while playing in the Intrust Super Cup.
"We are comfortable with Jarrod's registration," Moore said.
"He has obviously made some mistakes which he has moved on from and we believe he can use those learnings to make a positive impact, particularly in the wellbeing space.
"Ultimately though, the onus is on Jarrod himself to step up and make a strong contribution to the club, community and the Intrust Super Cup."
Originally published as Why the Falcons gave drug cheat a second chance