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Combine Interview Stories And Other Links

Posted by Matt Terl on March 3, 2011 – 4:00 pm

Prospects at the NFL Combine know that they’re going to be judged by large groups of people. Much of what we see is the judging of their physical performance — that’s what the nice folks in the picture above are doing — but the judging of their interview skills is, possibly, even more important. And it often yields some amusing stories.

Here’s one from an AFC team this year, as told by the Free Lance-Star’s Rich Campbell:

The player was in a room speaking to coaches, executives and scouts when he was asked: “What do you expect to run the 40 in?”

It’s an innocuous question, especially compared to some that are lobbed during these sessions. The team simply wanted to know a specific time to expect.

The player answered: “Either spikes or tennis shoes.”

Easy mistake to make, I’m sure. Here’s part of an older one, as told by ex-Redskins safety Matt Bowen on National Football Post:

Let me set it up. I walk into the suite of a team (which will remain unknown) and there is a priest sitting in one of the chairs. I play it off like this is something I am accustomed to seeing outside of Sunday Mass and sit down.

And then the guy in the collar starts firing off questions.

Maybe this team knew I was Catholic or maybe the guy wasn’t even a priest (I thought it might be a quality control coach dressed up). Regardless, I start to panic a little. My answers are choppy and I feel like I am sitting in a confession booth. I start sweating and I can feel my heart pounding in my chest.

Should I tell him about the crap I pulled as a sixth grader in Catholic school? Do I spill my guts here? I can’t lie, right? This all starts to enter my mind and I find myself having a hard time keeping up with this priest who is asking me about my religion, my faith, etc.

I am failing this interview.

Worth clicking through to read the rest of that one. (SUMMARY: Bowen was not drafted by the team with the priest in the interview room.)

But my favorite illustration of the Combine interview process comes from someone who’s not even a player. Mike Duffy — the top-notch guy at BaltimoreRavens.com — got some of the Ravens front office staff to run him through a mock Combine interview. And even though everyone involved knows that nothing’s really at stake, it’s gripping, tense stuff. Made me, at least, really appreciate just how crazy those interview sessions must be when your entire future is on the line. Well worth watching.

Some other (more Redskins-related) links…..

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