The NFL’s softening of its nonsensical ban on participation in the Scouting Combine by players involved in certain off-field issues goes beyond permitting them to show up for physicals.
Per a league source, Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson, Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, and Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams also will be allowed to engage in interviews with teams. However, they won’t be permitted to take part in the various events of the Underwear Olympiad.
That’s actually a good outcome for the players; they’ll still run and jump and lift and whatever during their Pro Day workouts. Their Combine experience will now be less stressful and hectic than it would have been, since they won’t have all activities crammed into their stay in Indianapolis.
The NFL deserves credit for seeing the light on a rule that hurts the teams far more than it hurts the players. The NFL nevertheless deserves criticism for allowing the rule to exist in the first place. It’s a clumsy-at-best P.R. maneuver that quickly becomes superseded by the fact that the players will be drafted (if deemed to be good enough relative to their peers) and eventually will be promoted by the league (if they become stars when competing with their peers).
The Combine ban is, in the end, a gratuitous half measure that does more hard than good. It needs to go away completely for 2020.