COVID continues to impact the NFL — this time at the combine.
Every year, the top prospects entering the draft spend a few days showing league personnel what they can do, answer the questions of front office executives; it’s essentially the biggest job interview starter of these football players’ lives.
The 2022 NFL Draft Combine is scheduled to begin next week in Indianapolis. But this year’s might be significantly lighter on prospects than years past.
No working out?
According to reports, agents representing 150 of the 324 prospects scheduled to participate in the combine have threatened a boycott of the event because of the COVID “bubble” the NFL has in place.
The “bubble” would restrict players’ ability to work with trainers and speak with their agents while inside the combine.
Unless the NFL and the combine agree to ease those restrictions — allowing players access to their full team of coaches, trainers, ATCs et al. as in past years — many top prospects will only do medical evaluations next month in Indianapolis. https://t.co/orMpYcx3qD
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2022
And agents aren’t having it.
Neither is the Players’ Association.
On Sunday, the NFLPA reportedly issued a memo to player agents supporting the boycott. The PA referred to the combine as an “antiquated” event, and something the PA has opposed for some time.
The agents proposing the boycott have indicated they will hold players out of drills and interviews if the league doesn’t change the restrictions in their planned “bubble.”
They’ve got a guy
Agents provide prospects with trainers, nutritionists and other specialists to help them before and during the combine — at the expense of the prospects.
In recent years, agents have balked at some of the drills being moved to a more television-friendly prime time hour to make for better ratings (for NFL Network, especially).
According to ESPN’s report, “the nutrition aspect was among the most upsetting, since many of the prospects are trying to reach certain weights in time for the combine and that effort could be upset by the last-minute decision by the league to be the sole provider of food for prospects at the event.”
With the Giants and Jets owning four of the top ten overall picks in the upcoming draft, this news is especially noteworthy for fans who want to know how the potential players they’re interested in selecting work out.