Report: NFL changes COVID-19 protocols to prevent Combine boycott

The NFL has would have made a key change to its Combine COVID-19 policy, after several officers banded together under threat that more than 150 athletes would boycott the event. Almost half of the 324 players invited to the Combine should have refrained from the typical drills performed, opting to undergo only medical evaluations, due to strict restrictions.

Last week, NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero posted a note from the NFL sent to upcoming draft prospects who said athletes would be subject to a bubble, similar to what other sports have put in place at various times throughout the pandemic.

“Players will be limited to securing Combine venues during their entire stay in Indianapolis for their protection,” the memo reads, via Pelissero. “Players who violate this policy at any time will be disqualified from further participation and sent home.”

Additionally, the Combine would limit players to bringing only one “medical support person”, such as a massage therapist or athletic trainer, rather than a more comprehensive support staff. Additionally, whichever staff member an athlete decides to bring with them, they will need to be fully vaccinated.

Now, the NFL is reportedly easing its restrictions and allowing athletes to leave these “combined safe sites” if they wish during their free time in Indianapolis.

The Combine starts on March 1 and ends on March 7.

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