NFL scraps scouting combine in Indy in 2021


The NFL scouting combine will not be held as usual this year in Indianapolis, the league told teams in a memo Monday.

The city has hosted the event every year since 1987.

In the sport’s latest changes to its procedures as it operates during the coronavirus pandemic, the league said all on-field workouts by eligible players leading up to the NFL draft will take place at players’ schools during on-campus pro days for teams’ coaches, executives and scouts.

Medical information on the players is to be gathered through virtual consultations, testing at local facilities and some in-person exams at designated locations. Teams’ interviews with players will be conducted remotely.

“Consistent with medical and public health advice, the 2021 Combine will be conducted in a different format,” the NFL’s memo to teams said. “There will be no in-person workouts at the Combine.”

The combine was held last year in Indianapolis just before the NFL began to modify its operations based on coronavirus-related considerations. The event normally is a gathering place in late February and early March for teams and league officials, used to discuss a variety of issues against the backdrop of more than 300 draft-eligible players undergoing medical exams, participating in drills and meeting with teams.

It had been clear for some time, however, that with the coronavirus spreading rapidly across the nation, the league probably would not be able to take a business-as-usual approach to the combine.

“We’ve had a few conversations with the league about the combine. . . . I don’t expect the country to be in a significantly different place at the time of the combine than where we are right now,” DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, said last week.

The NFL said in its memo that it made its decision after a special committee of owners, general managers and medical experts provided guidance.

“We will work with the schools to encourage consistency in testing and drills across pro days and ensure that all clubs have access to video from those workouts, irrespective of whether the club is represented at a particular workout,” the league’s memo to teams said.

The NFL has used daily coronavirus testing of players, coaches and team staffers and ever-tightening protocols to play its season. It finished its 256-game regular season within the originally allotted 17 weeks and has completed the first two rounds of the playoffs, with only the two conference championship games and the Super Bowl remaining.

But the league’s offseason operations have changed dramatically over the past year. NFL teams conducted free agency remotely last year. The live event for last year’s NFL draft was canceled and teams’ coaches and general managers worked from home as the proceedings were held virtually. Teams had no in-person offseason programs for players and the entire preseason was canceled. All owners’ meetings have been held remotely.

Now, a change in format for the NFL’s annual job fair for players has been added to that list.

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9 thoughts on “NFL scraps scouting combine in Indy in 2021

    1. Not exactly sure how a pandemic, along with the NFL making the choice to cancel has anything to do with the mayor ruining Downtown Indy. I’m not a fan of the mayor myself, but not sure you can lay this one at his feet.

    1. Follow the money. The NFL did not cancel any games this year.
      NCAA lost nearly $1 billion in revenue by not having a NCAA Tournament in 2020. No way it will get canceled this year.
      A bubble worked for the NBA. A bubble will work for the NCAA this year, especially with recent advances and info regarding COVID.

  1. What could the mayor have done. Could he have forced something.

    Ridiculous statements do no bode well for anyone reading this publication. Why would a mayor be intent on ruining the city he/she leads?

    If one does not like the mayor, so be it. If there are particular policies or actions that one finds fault with, then be factual. State the issue and propose solutions. Proactive engagement is much more productive that attack.

    Furthermore, Downtown Indy is much better that downtowns in several cities. However, the unappealing suburbanization of the urban area renders the city unattractive, unappealing, and at a loss for attracting growth compared to Columbus OH, Kansas City, MO or Louisville, KY.

    Most important however is the spreading Coronavirus for which Indiana is a hot spot. Apparently, some have not noticed the dire situation, but the NFL has. Others will note what appears to be an unchecked health issue in Indiana. It would not be prudent to hold the event and risk infections among those attending. What Indianapolis does not need is the label of superspreader Capitol City.

    1. Derek, why waste your time responding? Most of the time the comments are inane. IBJ needs to figure out a way to hide comments.

    1. Grow up, baby! No one is threatening you with a gun. And, no one is being “silenced” since your dumb comment is still here. But, you do need to understand that a private organization like IBJ doesn’t need to allow anyone to speak—that is the benefit of owning private property, you get to decide who is invited. Now move along, and throw a tantrum elsewhere.

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