The NFL Combine is lifting bubble restrictions shortly after the news that player agents were organizing a boycott.
A year after its full cancellation, the NFL combine is returning this year but the National Invitational Camp planned to implement several COVID-19 protocols, including a “bubble.” Per a memo acquired by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the players would have been restricted to “secure Combine venues” during their entire time in Indianapolis and players could only invite one medical support person, like a trainer, to help them during the combine. Players who violated the policy would be disqualified and sent home.
Pelissero reported Sunday that agents who represent more than 150 prospects were organizing a boycott of “all testing, on-field workouts and interviews” at the combine if the restrictions weren’t lifted.
The NFL Players Association sent a letter to agents reinforcing their opposition to the combine and supporting players who decide not to attend.
“The combination of the NFL’s proposed ‘bubble’ and fact that we still have an antiquated system of every team doctor examining players and having them perform yet again needs serious modification or elimination. While we do not represent these players, we have advocated for their rights to fair treatment,” the letter reads, in part.
However, the NIC informed players Monday evening they changed their minds on at least one combine policy — players will now be allowed outside restricted areas.
“We encourage all players to remain within the secure Combine areas at all times for your safety. However, if you would like to leave the secure areas during free time in your schedule, you are now permitted to do so at your risk,” the message obtained by Pelissero states. “If you prefer to remain in the secure areas and have your approved medical support personnel (physical therapist, massage therapist, or approved athletic trainer) enter the secure area to provide medical treatments, please follow the previously communicated procedure.”
Whether some of the other policies that have elicited concern, like a shortened schedule, are repealed in the weeks leading up to the combine remains to be seen.
And onto the rest of your notes.
- The Athletic’s Chris Burke pinpoints eight contracts the Lions should take a look at if they want to create some cap space. ($) Our own Erik Schlitt is tracking the contract status of every player, so be sure to bookmark this to use as a reference this offseason.
- The Lions continue to honor Black History Month.
Earlier this month as part of our Black History Month activations, local students from @detlionsacad, along with @Jae_Uno_, visited @thewrightmuseum to learn about Black history on a global, national and local level. #LionsBHM pic.twitter.com/VYmIXj8evx— Detroit Lions (@Lions) February 21, 2022
- Our Mike Payton joined Eazy from Woodward Sports to discuss whether Lions fans should give Sheila Ford Hamp a clean slate.
- The XFL announced it will collaborate with the NFL on select innovation programs to create increased player development opportunities on and off the field.
what did you do today because Frank Ragnow kissed a shark pic.twitter.com/WUM4amSGJV— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) February 21, 2022
- If you were among those sucked into the Matthew Stafford Hall of Fame debate, it continues as The Athletic’s Mike Sando outlines his potential road to Canton. ($)