After a one-year hiatus, the NFL will once again hold its annual scouting combine from Indianapolis. But this year’s combine will be different from the ones that were held in a pre-COVID world.
On Saturday, the combine informed prospects that they are permitted to invite one “medical support person” — essentially a trainer — that must be fully vaccinated. All meals and snacks will be provided by the combine, as prospects will spend their time in Indianapolis in a “bubble” environment, with limited exceptions. Players who violate the combine’s new policies will be disqualified from further participation and will be sent home, according to a memo attained by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Along with the new COVID-related policies, the combine has also revamped it workout schedule. The combine, which will begin on Tuesday, March 1, will have players do measurements, bench press and on-field workouts during the same day. In previous combines, measurements, bench press and on-field workouts were performed on separate days.
The changes to the workout schedules has led to skepticism from both prospect agents as well as NFL team executives.
“You’re gonna have guys afraid to get hurt,” an AFC team executive said in a story written by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
The NFLPA also sent a letter to every agent commenting on the plans for this edition of the combine, via NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport:
“We have spoken to several agents to reinforce our long standing opposition to the NFL Scouting Combine and agree and support the decisions by those to not attend. The combination of the NFL’s proposed “bubble” and fact that we still have an antiquated system of every team doctor examining players and having them perform yet again needs serious modification or elimination. While we do not represent these players we have advocated for their rights to fair treatment.
“Our union has always encouraged players to take control of their careers from the very beginning and we appreciate that agents are looking at ways to support that goal.”
Prospects will spend four days in Indianapolis. Medical exams will take up the first day, followed by media interviews on the second day. Measurement, bench and workouts will take place on the third day before players depart on the fourth day. Prospects will also get a chance to speak with NFL teams in preparation for the upcoming draft.