Bringing together scouts in the NFL didn’t really make sense, at least not to the players who go through it. A four-day hyperbaric glove that begins with a medical, then interviews with coaches and scouts, then measurements and outdated skill tests that barely relate to the act of playing soccer (hello, bench press), and finally, the exercise the players have spent the past two months training on him. The 2022 version of the Horde, which would have looked very different until a proxy-led uprising suppressed the changes, threatened to be worse.
“The combination has always been horrific,” said one source who has gone through the process several times. “It’s never been a fun experience for players. One from two years ago was terrible. They don’t have the combination [in 2021] And everything is fine, they brought him back and made the bad situation worse.”
The 2020 group changed the schedule to move field drills to the evening for prime-time television, making it take longer days for odds, but this was child’s play than what was planned for the event. Last week, just two weeks before the players were reported to Indianapolis, the survey team sent out a memo that laid out a new set of rules that created a bubble of odds. Potential clients could not leave the “safe assembly areas” and were limited to inviting only one support person – personal trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, throwing coaches, etc. – into the bubble for their training or treatment, and only at “select locations”. This was different from any previous group as this is the first integration of the COVID era. (There wasn’t one last year, and the 2020 edition was released just before closing.)
According to this first source, who has first-hand knowledge of the regulation, a group of NFL agents from 14 different agencies, including the CAA, Sportstars, Klutch Sports, Rep 1 Sports and Athletes First, representing more than 160 joint prospects, decided to draft a project that threatens to keep their players. Outside the merge field drill if the bubble remains intact. The source says the group of agents decided not to send the message to the NFL or the National Football League scouts, the group that already runs the collection, because they knew the threat itself was strong enough without having to make it public. “You will have prime-time television with literally no one in the field,” the source said.
A second source with first-hand knowledge of the agent discussions says the message has already leaked to the NFL and NFS (and its crux of the matter). was on the spot Leaked to the media), and that the same group of agents drafted a second letter on Monday, that letter addressed to Troy Vincent, the league’s executive vice president of football operations. The second source said the agents didn’t send the second message either, choosing to wait another day to try and fix the issue with the powers that be.
Monday night, just before 6 p.m., e-mail From Audrey Schafer, Events and Program Manager at NFS, arrives at agents’ inboxes. It said players can now leave safe areas at their own risk.
“Crisis averted,” the second source texted as he forwarded the message to me. The bubble burst.
The typical player in the group uses a combination of a coach or trainer, a massage therapist, and a nutritionist during the week, and meets regularly with their agent. Players with injuries may need more medical staff, such as physical therapists or chiropractors. Big coaching companies will travel to Indianapolis with 10-12 employees to work with their prospects, and they’ll usually rent an entire suite inside the convention center, so it’s easy for their players to swing by whenever they get a break. Players have very little downtime in their built-in schedule, so their coaches are on call, waiting for a text message to arrive at the convention center to squeeze a treat, work on 40 starts, or drive a dynamic stretch during a 20-minute break. “If a kid comes in on Monday, runs on Thursday, you can’t expect him to just sit in his room and do interviews and medical studies and then get out there and run on Thursday,” said NFL agent Peter Schaeffer. “The risk of a hamstring injury is high.”
The combination provides meals for all 324 potential people, but they are not personally tailored and most men have very specific eight or 10 week meal plans that make them eat six small meals a day. In years past, coaches heated up meals and delivered them to prospective prospects while they waited to catch a bus or while a player had five minutes between interviews.
In the bubble, keeping players fresh in their drills would have been much more difficult, not to mention the clumsy plan that left coaches and the staff the players would meet. The same general manager who meets the potential client at the meaty Prime 47 every night will be talking with a free agency. Agents and teams have hated the built-in setup for years, as it’s more about the TV product than evaluating the actual player, but the bubble concept was the straw that broke the camel’s back and something that led many agents to overshoot in-fighting in the service of a fight—something that affects them all.
A few hours before the bubble burst Monday night, I asked Wasserman agent CJ LaBoy if he was advising his players not to exercise due to restrictions. “Why would I put my players at a disadvantage?” replied in a text. “The current NFL group is not useful to draft hopefuls and does not offer the same apples to apples comparison as the previous draft categories. My job is to advise players on what is best for their individual draft process. Ultimately the player has to decide if they want Participation or not, but there is a growing strong feeling that many will not participate under the proposed formula.”
Dealers have always preferred their clients to work their pro days in college, it’s a much more familiar environment and tends to be 40 times faster on professional daily workouts due to friendly manual timers, rather than laser timers in the kit. So top potential clients, and prospects attending major programs, had little to lose with this proposed boycott of porter field exercises.
While it is possible that a number of players would have worked anyway against the advice of their agents, the idea of a mass boycott was enough to make the league and the NFS budge quickly. The first source with common experience told me, “You have a scenario where the guys aren’t working in the field, and that’s not good for anyone.” “It’s something out of real life. That’s the power these guys have.”
This bubble problem exposed the flaws in the padding, and for many dealers it was a welcome crack in the door, and an opportunity to make permanent changes to an otherwise ineffective combination format. Perhaps most importantly, what many have long known has been shown to be true: Potential clients don’t need to collect as much as the NFL does, and they are.