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Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA President J.C. Tretter isn’t a fan of the NFL making the NFL Combine into a “reality show” and steering away from its original need.
Tretter told The New York Times that the league seems more interested in using the Combine as content for primetime TV to show on its network rather than in doing what’s best for the next generation of NFL players.
The 31-year-old center is the president of the players association — which draft prospects are not members because they are not yet players in the league — but said the NFLPA is not a fan of the way the league utilizes the prospective players for a TV audience.
“As it has shifted to being made a reality TV show, and been shifted away from its original need, it’s become less and less valuable,” Tretter told The Times. “Making it a prime time television event, pushing it late at night, is another instance where it’s not to the players’ benefit that they have to go out there and perform, and their draft stock relies on good performance.”
As OutKick contributor Pro Football Doc reports, many players choose to skip the Combine in favor of Pro Days at their respective schools. For years, top QBs have deferred to the school showcases, but one ever skips the Combine medical evaluation as it is the only place to get the NFL physicals done.
The NFLPA has long opposed the Combine and has told players that they should feel free to skip it, but few players do.
As much as the union, agents and players may dislike the Combine, players still hope they can perform well enough to improve their draft stock, and the league continues to turn those efforts into must-watch TV.
Maybe with things changing and head coaches skipping the event — like Rams‘ Sean McVay and 49ers‘ Kyle Shanahan — people will take notice. McVay appears to still be sending some staff, while it is reported Shanahan and his staff will not be in attendance.
In the Rams case, McVay said the team has found new approaches to utilize the data the league and schools send to them and use their time more efficiently during the draft process on that — the Combine doesn’t usually contribute, aside from the physical, he said.
Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner
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