NFL Combine to be drastically altered thanks to COVID-19

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It won’t be business as usual for the Detroit Lions at the upcoming 2021 NFL Scouting Combine.

While the National Football League continues to work towards a plan finalizing the event, things will definitely be looking different than in years past thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally held in Indianapolis, the location may be moved in addition to several other changes.

Per Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer:

• Concepts centered on regionalized medical checks, with teams allowed to send one or two people (either doctors or trainers) each to attend. Teams made clear to the NFL that the gathering of medical information was the one piece of the combine that was most vital and hardest for them to replicate independently. The likelihood now is the NFL will have the checks at hospitals in places where large numbers of players are doing combine prep—like Florida, California, Arizona and Texas (85 percent of prospects are working out in those four states)—to cut down on players’ travel. Also worth noting: many team docs traveling to those sites will have been vaccinated.

• The NFL Physicians Society and the Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society have been working on the safest format for performing the four phases of medical evaluation: Interview and history gathering; the internal medical exam; the orthopedic exam; and lab and x-ray work. The first two phases could be pulled off virtually via Teleheath.

• More formalized pro days to replace the lost workouts. This would mean either team or league officials conducting drills and testing on campus, with everything standardized and information dispersed as it would be at the combine.

• Zoom interviews. This shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment—starting in mid-March of last year and going all the way up to the 2020 NFL draft, this is how business was done. So much as teams might lose in face-to-face interactions, it’s not something that’s foreign to them.

Breer also suggested that the combine could be moved to April, though that would require the NFL moving back the date of the 2021 Draft, which apparently they have no desire to do.

– – Quotes via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated Link – –