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article imageOp-Ed: NFL combine not just for rookies anymore

By Vincent Gerace     Feb 18, 2015 in Sports
The NFL off season is here, and fans all around will look for something to fill the void. One part of this is the NFL Scouting Combine, designed specifically for those just removed from the college game isn't the only combine in town any more.
Well, it’s here. A down time in the year for all passionate football fans. A time when we wonder who our favorite team will be eying in free agency, what moves front offices will make to bolster their rosters, who will be cap casualties, and who will impress at the combine. Interesting though, to still wonder about the combine when really we should be curious about the results from the combines. The NFL has made a major effort in giving many players opportunities to be seen and scouted even if the don’t get the invite to the annual NFL Scouting Combine, held every year in Indianapolis for prospective rookies. The additional of Regional Combines have helped players from lesser known, or lower level college programs who would normally slip through the cracks get noticed causing a strong amount of players to make NFL rosters. In the words of Ray Anderson, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, “The NFL Regional Combine program provides players — who may not have had the chance before — the opportunity to work out for NFL personnel executives. It allows all 32 clubs a chance to further evaluate future prospects.”
That is not the only new move the NFL is making in their “family of combines.” It was announced in January that the league will be adding a “Veterans Combine” to the slate of ways for players to get noticed. This newly developed event will be held the 22nd of March in Arizona at the Cardinals’ training facility, taking place one day before the leagues annual owners meetings also held in Arizona. A move that puts team representatives on hand to evaluate the talent in a location they already must be in.
The combine is said to host roughly 100 players and can encompass "... the NFL free agent who is one year out of college and was in a training camp, or a 10-year veteran who has been a starter in the league. It will be very diverse, although at first it probably will tilt toward the younger guys,” according to Matt Birk, NFL Director of Football development. Players who are veteran free agents can apply to the league for participation. The league will then select and invite the interested players that they choose to be a part of the event.
This seems like a great idea for the league to go forth with and I personally would love to see it televised. It really seems to be just the opportunity a lot of guys are looking for, as opposed to the current way, where veterans without a team are at the mercy of a phone call. This gives talented players who may have had a bad camp, or were in a situation where they weren’t the right fit for a team a chance to find the right; and all of it will take place in front of all 32 teams, not just one team at a tryout during mini-camp right before training camp is set to begin.
As this event is only 33 days away some interesting questions may arise about the participants. Things like:
Who will be the most accomplished participant in the event?
What player that was a rookie last year will be involved?
How many of these players will actually end up in camp or on regular season rosters as a result of this?
And of course, will Tim Tebow participate?
All questions many a fan would love answers to, and those answers are coming, it’s only a matter of time.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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