Next week, I go to Northwestern University in Evanston to work out for some teams. This is a one-day meeting and a good chance to meet many of the people who will be making recommendations for the upcoming draft.
This is somewhat different from the NFL Combine because there will be no medical tests during the tryouts. For the Combine, an entire day is spent meeting with various team doctors and taking MRIs. Basically, what we will be doing at Northwestern is showing that we are ready for the NFL. We'll be running the 40,lifting, doing some basic drills. Pretty much the same type of thing that many scouts saw a few weeks ago from the college players who were at the Combine.
After the day at Northwestern, I'll return to Atlanta and continue training. I'll go back to Chicago at the end of the month for another one-day tryout, this time at Halas Hall. The second tryout will have representatives from 22 NFL teams. Again, it is a one-day event and there will be no medical tests done on site at that particular time. The routine should be similar to the day at Northwestern.
Both tryouts feature interviews between the college players and the scouts in addition to showcasing the physical work. This one on one time is an important part of the entire process. You can be sure that teams want to know about your background. What is your family like? Have you ever gotten into any trouble? Are you coachable? Do you have a passion for football? Could you fit into a team well?
As things get increasingly more complex in the world of professional sports, teams do not want to hire anybody who is going to cause them trouble. Sure, physical skills are very important, but how you handle things mentally can be a big factor in your draft position, too. If it looks as if you are a team player and that you are easy to work with, then they are going to be more interested in you than they would be if you were known as somebody who caused problems.
After these tryouts have been completed, I won't get any direct feedback. The teams will be calling my agent and he will relay the information to me. Then he and I will be discussing what my options might be.
I'm getting very excited and somewhat nervous about the process right now. Things are getting down to the wire and its time to make the best impression that I possibly can. I feel well prepared. I've put a lot of time into this and the results of this work should be apparent. What it all comes down to is this: you keep your cool, give it your best shot, and hope that the scouts will like what you've shown them. The 'wait and see' part is not going to be easy, but I'm optimistic and I'm hoping for the best.
Beth Gorr contributed to this article.
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