For a whole variety of reasons, I won’t be attending the NFL Scouting Combine this year (which is fortunate, as it kicks off today in Indianapolis but I’m still sitting in Loudoun County, Virginia). But it wouldn’t do for this blog to miss out on several days of football prospects jumping up and down, or on every single person in the NFL being in one city at the same time. So since I can’t be there myself, I’ve got a correspondent on the ground in Indy — this guy:
No, not Chris Cooley, although that would no doubt be entertaining. THIS guy, down there at the bottom right of that picture:
That’s Jordan Beane. His day job — as you can probably guess from the picture — is for the Redskins Broadcast Network. But Beane’s also an experienced writer — has a degree in it and everything! — who just the other day was telling me that one of his dreams in life is to be a remote correspondent covering dramatic upheaval in a foreign country.
I didn’t have the resources to accomodate that, nor is the social unrest in Libya really within the purview of the Redskins Blog, but Indianapolis … that I could do, especially since he was already going to be there for RBN. It’s not Beane’s first time at the Combine, which will also be helpful to his coverage. Here, in his first dispatch, he explains how last year’s Indianapolis experience will infom this year’s coverage.
This is my second year covering the Combine for the Redskins Broadcast Network. To help you get a sense of what it’s like outside of Lucas Oil Field, I thought I would relay something that happened to me last year.
Indianapolis has, according to the 2010 US Census, 829,718 citizens. I believe all of them are in bed promptly at eight each night. Or, at the very least, they all need to get home so they won’t miss a second of American Idol. Add plunging temperatures (average February low: 22 degrees) and gale-force winds to the equation and Indianapolis soon becomes a veritable ghost town as soon as the sun goes down (though the Shake ‘n Steak on Maryland Ave. seemed to be doing a brisk business).
This left me wandering the city’s skywalks (a series of raised walkways connecting nearly all of downtown and mercifully sheltering people from the Siberian-like elements outside) practically alone, except for a guy on a cell phone a few paces behind me. Unfortunately the skywalk only connects nearly all of downtown when the whole thing is open. Halfway back to my hotel, one of the doors was locked (turns out the guy in charge of closing the skywalk has an early bedtime too), forcing me to turn around and face the freezing Indy night.
As a courtesy I informed the guy walking behind me on the cell phone that the gate was closed. The guy got off his phone, caught up to me and we began to talk. (Walking around Indianapolis at night is the closest I’ve come to solitary confinement. You’ll take any kind of companionship you can get.) He noticed my Redskins jacket and asked if I worked for the team. Trying my best to impress this Hoosier I somewhat boastfully informed him that yes, I did work for the Redskins, in their broadcast video department. “What about you?” I asked, ready for him to regale with me tales of his days working on the farm or for a pit crew or coaching a small town high school basketball team to dizzying heights or whatever it is that people from Indiana do. “I work for the Cleveland Browns,” he said. “Oh. Doing what?” I replied. “Offensive coordinator.” Turns out I was talking to (now former) Browns OC (and current Dolphins OC) Brian Daboll.
We walked back to the hotel together talking. I quickly realized that I liked the guy and, since the Redskins weren’t playing the Browns this season, hoped that they would do well. (2010 record: 5-11. Plus he was let go at the end of the season. Whoops.) This meeting seemed novel at first, but by the end of my time in Indy I realized that these kinds of run-ins happen all the time. With the entire NFL universe occupying a few blocks of downtown Indianapolis, it would only make sense that everyone you run into – the guy in front of you at Starbucks, window shopping at the Circle Centre Mall, talking on his cell phone – would be like Daboll.
This is just one example of how, as much as the Combine is about 40 times and shuttle runs, it also serves as an informal NFL networking event. In my two days there I saw, in no particular order, Robert Smith, Arthur Blank, John Madden, Sam Bradford, Charlie Weiss and Peyton Manning (who I can only assume is paid by the state to stay in Indianapolis during the offseason), all of them doing mundane things like checking into hotels and eating in restaurants. So, while I will work to provide the best on-the-field Combine coverage from Indy, I’ll also do my best to give the complete picture of what goes on behind the scenes in the Circle City. You never know who you’ll meet in a skywalk.
Yeah, I think he’ll do just fine. If you want to prep yourself for Combine coverage — here and elsewhere — you could do a lot worse than to read this Mike Lombardi column at NFL.com. He does an excellent job of explaining what to look for … and, perhaps more importantly, what not to be too impressed by. And it should tide you over well as I wait for reports from this guy (not London Fletcher).
Tags: guest post, jordan beane, nfl combine
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