The All-Important Combine Interview


What young boy doesn’t dream of growing up and being a professional athlete? Fame, fortune, beautiful women, big houses, fast cars – and you get to play a game for a living. Ah, the life. But if that dream is specific to the NFL, than it most likely also contains the NFL Scouting Combine, which on Monday concluded it’s week long, made-for-TV extravaganza of sprints, lifts, jumps, catches and throws in Indianapolis.

So what exactly did the 32 NFL teams (and us the viewing audience) ascertain this week? Well, we learned that Georgia running back Keith Marshall can flat out fly when he ran a 4.31 40 yard time. We learned just how just how strong Arizona State offensive lineman Christian Westerman is when he bench pressed 225 lbs a total of 34 times. And we learned that Cal’s Daniel Lasco and Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey are both part kangaroo when they had identical leaps of 41.5 inches vertically and 12 ft. 3 inches in the standing broad jump.

All good stuff and I’m sure helpful to some degree to the scouts, coaches and GM’s in attendance who must “grade” the players for their “big boards” come draft time. But then there are the private parts of the process that the public and media aren’t privy too. The interviews. The one common thread to us everyday “nine-to-fivers”….the thing we all have to go through at some point in our lives to get a job. But that being said, I can almost guarantee none of us have ever been asked the questions that were tossed at these kids – and thanks to Twitter (and some former players) we know exactly how crazy some of the interviews questions are.

For example:

Western Michigan OT Willie Beavers said the Falcons asked if he’d rather be a cat or dog (for the record he said dog – no clue if that’s good or bad).

Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty was asked “You’re on a mountain in Alaska on a bus going 100 mph. Where are you sitting on the bus?”

Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango said one team asked him, “Would u share your internet history with us?” (Drango said “sure, I search for a lot of food)”.

But crazy questions aren’t something that’s new at this year’s combine – no, they’ve been around for years. Here are a few of my favs:

Six-year NFL veteran Gerald McCoy said he was asked if he wore a g-string or a jock strap when he played.

Dez Bryant was asked by a Miami staffer if his Mom was a prostitute.

When Cam Newton was asked the “dog or cat?” question he said he sees himself as a person…and was immediately thrown a follow up asking if he had problems with authority.

The Jaguars’ Austen Lane was asked by a scout in 2010 whether he thought his mother was attractive, and if he could kill a person and not get caught would he do it?

And then the Cleveland Browns, those amazingly inept Browns, asked Lane’s teammate Chris Smith how many different ways he could use a brick in a minute.

So seriously, WTF NFL?  Let me ask you the reader to put on your GM hat. Now who would you rather draft….a cat or a dog?

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Tom Fireoved is the Co-Founder of ScoreBoardTX and President of Franchise Sports & Entertainment, a Dallas based athlete marketing and consulting agency. He formerly served as Vice President of the Texas Rangers and Executive Vice President of the Dallas Stars.


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