The NFL Scouting Combine informed prospects attending next week’s event on Monday that it has changed its protocols and will now allow players outside of secure areas while in Indianapolis.
“We encourage all players to stay in the secure areas of the Combine at all times for your safety,” the memo obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero read, in part. “However, if you wish to leave the secure areas during your free time in your schedule, you are now permitted to do so at your own risk.”
The memo also states that “players’ licensed medical support personnel (physical therapist, massage therapist or licensed athletic trainer)” may enter secure areas provided they follow proper procedures.
The memo effectively removes the bubble environment announced on Saturday. Rapoport and Pelissero reported on Sunday night that agents representing potential projects were organizing a boycott of all testing, field training and interviews at the March 1-7 event, unless restrictions aimed at securing venues change. be modified. Allowing prospects access to their full staff of coaches and athletic trainers was one of the biggest issues for players and their representation.
Saturday’s memo said all players participating in the 2022 Combine would be “restricted to securing Combine sites the entire time in Indianapolis for their protection.” Additionally, the memo stated that any prospects found in violation of the policy would be “disqualified from further participation and sent home.” In these protocols, players were allowed to invite a medical support person to assist them during the combine and the person had to be approved before being allowed access to specified locations.
According to Saturday’s memo, the protocols were designed to “enhance the overall player experience and protect players from a health and safety perspective.” Other changes, as noted in the memo, were “fewer on-site days, reduced testing schedule, new communication platform, scheduled medical exam, personalized meal options/schedules, rooms individual and a safe environment to reduce distractions and help limit potential exposure to COVID.”
Following news of Saturday’s memo, Cleveland Browns offensive lineman JC Tretter, president of the NFL Players Association, tweeted Sunday his dismay at the development. Subsequently, the NFLPA sent a memo, obtained by Pelissero and Rapoport, to officers that they “accept and support the decisions of those who don’t show up.”
The NFL Scouting Combine said Monday that “we continue to evolve our Combine policies and procedures in consultation with medical experts.”
A total of 324 prospects are invited to participate in this year’s combine. Held in Indianapolis since 1987, the combine was significantly modified in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with all field training taking place on campus pro days.
Monday’s full memo can be read below: