Inside the Huddle – Keeping the Dream Alive

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For some players, getting picked in the first round of the NFL draft or getting picked at all, doesn’t automatically make you a shoe-in for a permanent NFL job; you still have to fight for it to earn a spot. Many former NFL players have to learn this lesson the hard way and often times end up out of a job.

However, for the players that were picked early but failed expectations, there is a saving grace. This saving grace is the annual NFL Veteran Combine in Tampa, Florida, which is held right around this time each year. Players have to register for this combine, of course, but it is open to anyone who has any prior NFL experience and wants to run the drills over and try to impress an NFL team. This year, at the combine, a number of former pros are trying to get back in the league, including quarterback Brady Quinn, defensive end Michael Sam, running backs Michael Bush and Felix Jones, and linebacker Jamaal Anderson.

The players that showed up and attempted to impress at the combine ran all the same drills that the college players do when they leave college and are ready to enter the NFL draft. According to some player interviews from, many were satisfied with how they performed at the combine, but others were very dissatisfied. When ex-raiders running back Michael Bush was asked about his combine performance he was quoted as saying, “There goes my career.” This more than voiced his displeasure with his performance as he was clocked at a woefully slow 4.91 seconds for the 40-yard dash. However, among the players at the combine that were extremely happy with their performance were running back Felix Jones, linebacker Jamaal Anderson, and quarterback Brady Quinn. Anderson reported that he has cleared his head from a couple years ago and feels “physically and mentally ready to play.” Quinn told reporters that he feels like he is throwing more accurately than ever and he wants “back in on the NFL.” Finally, there is former 1st round pick, Felix Jones, who ran a fairly respectable 40-yard dash time and showed some flashes of quickness and agility.

Now that these players have had their shot at the Veteran Combine and demonstrated their skills to the NFL scouts, all they can do is sit back, wait, and hope that their phone rings with an NFL opportunity.

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