DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players’ Association, said he thinks the union should host pro days, and that the annual scouting combine should be eliminated. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
PHOENIX, Feb. 9 (UPI) — National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith wants to end the annual NFL scouting combine, and thinks the players’ union should host future pro days for potential draftees, he said at a news conference in Phoenix.
“You have to be invited to the combine,” Smith said. “As soon as you show up, you have to waive all of your medical rights and endure embarrassing questions.
” Would you want your son to spend hours inside of an MRI and then be evaluated by 32 separate team doctors who are only doing it for one reason? What’s the reason? To decrease your draft value.”
Smith spoke out about the off-season event at his annual Super Bowl week news conference Wednesday in a ballroom at the Phoenix Convention Center.
He also discussed player healthy and safety, field conditions, sports betting and other collective bargaining matters between the union and NFL team owners.
The 2023 NFL scouting combine will run from Feb. 28 to March 5 in Indianapolis. More than 300 prospects are to be invited to the event, where they will be mentally and physically tested by team decision-makers and examined by doctors.
Smith said he favors pro days — workouts held on individual college campuses for top prospects — over the combine. He also said he thinks the union should host pro days in various regions of the United States.
“It’s got to start with players and their agents understanding that the combine today has nothing to do with how fast you run, how high you jump and how much you can lift,” Smith said.
The NFL scouting combine started in 1982 in Tampa, Fla. New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz., also hosted the event before it moved to Indianapolis in 1987.
“We’re now in an era where we know exactly how fast these guys can run, how much they can lift, how far they can jump and can do all of those things,” Smith said. “Why do we insist on them showing up in Indianapolis?
“It’s not for anything physical. It’s for the teams to be able to engage in intrusive employment actions that don’t exist anywhere else.”
The 2023 NFL Draft will be held about a month after the scouting combine — from April 27 to 29 in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks to the media at the Super Bowl LVII Opening Night event at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on February 6, 2023. The Kansas City Chiefs will will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on February 12. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo