If an NFL team is preparing to pay out large sums of money for the services of a player, it will want to know as much about that person as they can. That’s one of the reasons why the NFL combine is so important. It also allows every team to be able to see all of the top talent coming out in one centralized place.
But some have compared this process to a slave trade, while others have referred to it as the meat market. I’m not comfortable with either description, but I will say that the combine week was a very grueling process.
This is how I remember it: From the time I checked in I was being whisked around from place to place, getting X-ray after X-ray, multiple MRIs and other tests with machines I'd never heard of or seen in my life.
Then came the eye test, where I had to walk in front of a room full of coaches and other team officials and strip down to my underwear. They weighed and measured me as onlooking prospective teams analyzed everything they could.
Did it feel a bit degrading? Sure it did, but I truly understood that in the football business my body was my moneymaker. Besides, back then I would have taken my clothes off for almost anybody to see my chiseled frame. All joking aside, back to my experiences at the combine.
Then I had physical day, which is when all the players are examined by teams’ training staffs. Because I was a high-profile prospect, I went through every single team, sometimes more than once.
I can remember that they worked us and interviewed us literally all day and night, and then I remember having to take a drug test at some unbelievable time in the morning, not much later than 5 a.m.
Then came the physical activities for the combine during the day, then the Wonderlic test and more interviews at night.
I didn't participate in any of the physical aspects of the combine because I chose to wait for my Pro Day. Why? I felt I'd be more comfortable and better served to wait and be in my own surroundings to perform the way I needed to.
At the combine, the teams want to know everything about us. Nothing is out of bounds, from family to personal life to hobbies and friends.
They had folders with statements from my high school coaches and even teachers, which were cross-referenced with me during my interviews.
The combine represents the fierce competition between teams to locate the best possible player, but it also gives players the ability to be discovered. Maybe someone slipped through the cracks of the scouting department or just didn't grade out very high. The combine has been a place where those questions are answered.
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