Arizona was the sight of many familiar names trying to redeem themselves as being NFL ready. The NFL created the idea to have former NFL players participate in a combine to show that their speed and strength are still comparable to players who currently are on teams.
Many of the players who were participating had found playing time on teams at some point but for different reasons are now out of work. I’m sure that many of the players had hopes that this combine would re-ignite their careers and get them back to doing what they love. Unfortunately, this was not the case for most of them.
The dominant stat that seemed subpar was the 40 yard dash times. Most times were multiple tenths of a second slower than what they should/used to be for these players. Tenths of a second may seem like a small difference, but those tenths can make or break a player’s future.
Running backs that had formerly run 4.30’s and 4.40’s were now running 4.70’s and even 4.90’s in some cases. Scouts quickly realized that the players that they were watching were not the same players that they use to be only a few years ago.
Players attending the event weren’t shown very much hospitality by the NFL either. They had to pay their way to get to the event along with finding their own housing.
They also had to pay a $400 fee to participate. The fee was probably still worth it to most of the players considering this might be their last chance to get back into the league.
The scouts who attended the event were not impressed with the numbers that the participants were putting out. Most said that some players might find work on some of their scout teams (essentially the practice squad), but that was about it.
It will be interesting not only to see if the NFL saw this as a worthwhile event to hold annually, but also to see if any players would even want to participate in another one if they did hold it again.
It’s hard to say if starters in the NFL currently could record the same athletic numbers that they did coming out of college. All that this combine proved was that the players who participated are out of work for a reason and they they may need to find careers in another field.