NFL backs off bubble plan for scouting combine

NFL Scouting Combine have amended their protocols, allowing draft prospects to leave bubble environment; The NFL Scouting Combine stated: “We continue to evolve our Combine policies and procedures in consultation with medical experts”

Last Updated: 22/02/22 3:25pm

Former TCU defensive lineman Ross Blacklock runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis
Former TCU defensive lineman Ross Blacklock runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis

The NFL will not go forward with plans to restrict draft prospects to a “bubble” environment during next month’s scouting combine after more than 150 draft prospects planned to boycott the annual pre-draft event.

Many draft prospects were discussing plans to boycott the annual pre-draft event, which will take place in Indianapolis from March 1-7, in protest.

A memo sent to the prospects outlined plans to restrict the participants to combine venues “during their entire time in Indianapolis for their protection” against Covid-19.

They would have only been allowed one “medical support” person, such as a trainer, for the duration of their stay.

Players who violated the rules ran the risk of being sent home.

But an update sent to participants said organisers “continue to evolve our Combine policies” in consultation with health experts.

“We encourage all players to remain within the secure Combine areas at all times for your safety,” the update read in part.

“However, if you would like to leave the secure areas during free time in your schedule, you are now permitted to do so at your own risk.”

Combine participants also will be allowed more than one support personnel to enter the secure areas.

Anyone with access to players at the combine must provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus and proof of a booster shot, if eligible.

Also, medical personnel performing exams or providing treatment have to wear masks.

Face coverings are recommended for players and attendees at the combine but not required.

Last year’s combine was scuttled because of the coronavirus, as were in-person visits, leading teams to rely on athletes’ pro days in making their draft evaluations.

This year, the combine is set to return in person but with key changes that include fewer days on site, a reduced testing schedule and single-room accommodations, but the bubble is no longer part of the equation.

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Source : Sky Sports