As I was flying into Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, I was soaking it all in.
It was sort of a reality check--not in a bad way, but in a good way. It was like, "wow, it's finally here, the time you've been training for and the dream you've been dreaming about since you were a kid is finally becoming a reality--you're actually going to be participating in this great event."
Just a few hours earlier I was on a plane with LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell who I had been training with and Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant. We flew down to Dallas and then I met LSU running back Charles Scott, Michigan running back Brandon Minor and a few other guys. We sort of formed a bond as we joked around and soaked up the moment together.
After we landed in Indianapolis and left the airport, it was cold. That was one thing I didn't realize about Indianapolis, but other than that, it was great. We all went into the city together on a limousine-bus and then we had to check in. I went through the line, signed a lot of papers, got some information and my bag of clothes to wear. Then I went to my room.
That was when the day really got started.
I got to my room and learned that my roommate during the Combine would be Dan LeFevour, the quarterback from Central Michigan. It was the first time we had met each other, so we spent some time getting to know each other on a personal level--not just a football level. We had heard of each other, so we knew where we were from and some other basic things like that, but we wanted to get to know each other a little more.
As we unpacked our bags, I settled down and put on the clothes that we were supposed to wear. Then we went down to a room where we provided our blood sample for drug testing and to see if our blood is healthy. We also had an EKG done. Honestly, I almost passed out when I saw the needle they use for taking blood. As tough as I am when it comes to playing football, I have to admit that I'm terrified of needles. But everything went well other than that, so it was all good. That whole process took about two hours.
Dwyer rushed for more than 2,700 yards over the last two seasons.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
After that, I went back to my room and relaxed for a little bit until it was time to eat. Then we headed to our orientation session. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome talked to us, and then some other people talked about the NFL security system--how they're there to help us and protect us, not just here, but in life once we get on our team. Then we met our group leaders, who are scouts from different teams. Our group has scouts from Minnesota, Atlanta, and the Tennessee Titans. They taught us what we needed to do for the next day.
After that, we went to a big room and met position coaches from all of the NFL teams. People were yanking players left and right to meet with different coaches. They tried to get to know me as a person, to get to know a little more of my background, test my football I.Q., and to learn more about how I read defenses. I got to meet with the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills position coaches and many others. It was mainly them telling me how they felt about me, and me letting them know how I felt about playing in the NFL, why I left after my junior year, and things of that nature.
I found out that they liked the way I play--the physicality I bring to the game and my overall style of running. They asked "why in the heck did they have you in a little three-point stance?" I got that a lot. But they said that they're excited to see what I can do starting at seven yards back instead of just five yards back--and I'm excited, too.
During that time I also got to meet all of the running backs who are here and had conversations with Jahvid Best, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, and a few other guys and to form a relationship with them. We respect each other and the fact that we're here at this point--and we respect each other's game. So I just tried to get to know them as people.
We finished up probably around midnight, so I went back to my room and just passed out. I had gotten up really early since my flight to Indianapolis had left at 7:45 that morning.
The next morning, we woke up at 4:30 to do our urine test. Then we got a chance to go back to sleep until the 6:00 a.m. wake-up call. We went to eat breakfast and were told to be in the lobby by 8:15 to go do our height and weight and our physicals.
The first thing--which I was excited about--was to go do our height and weight. I was about 5-foot-11 and my weight was 229, so I was very happy with that. It was the way I looked. It's a tighter-fit, there's no looseness, it's just a nice, clean-cut 229. It showed that I had lost some weight and toned my body up--and showed that I mean business. My trainers were very happy with that, and my agent was very happy as well.
I got some lunch in-between that time and when I got my physical, blood pressure, and let the doctors look at me. You go into all these different rooms to be examined. They check all of your limbs to see if anything's loose and make you get some x-rays. Luckily, everything went well for me, so I got a break and took advantage of it to get a little sleep. I woke up, got some dinner and started getting ready for my first formal team interviews.
Dwyer rushed for over 100 yards 17 times.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
I had three interviews scheduled for Friday night, but I also had a short interview with the running backs coach of the Miami Dolphins. He got to understand who I am as a person and I got to know him.
Then I had a team interview with the St. Louis Rams, which went very well. I already had a good relationship with their running backs coach, Sylvester Croom, so it was good to see him again. He recruited me out of high school and I played against him at Mississippi State.
I sat down and found that they knew a little bit about me, so we went over some film of my games and I got to tell them how I adjust to pass protection and pick up the blitz. Everything went very well.
Then I met with the San Diego Chargers. I got to meet Coach Turner, the general manager and the people from their front office. I had fun talking to them. We had some laughs and had a good time. During the meeting they told me about their situation with LaDainian [Tomlinson] having to leave and the situation they might have with Darren Sproles due to free agency. I tried to impress them as much as possible, so hopefully my name is at the top of their list. This is a big year for them with their running back situation.
I went on to meet with the Denver Broncos. That was a pretty good interview as well, but a little different--they were just straight to the point. They got their questions in and then I was on my way.
I got some stuff from all three teams--a tee-shirt from the Rams, a tee-shirt and a beanie from the Chargers, and some other stuff from the Broncos. After that, I just relaxed and went to see my trainer, Lance Locker, and saw a bunch of other guys who trained with him. As I was walking, I was talking to Ndamukong Suh, a guy who I worked out with, and some of my old teammates--Demaryius Thomas and Derrick Morgan. It was a homecoming type of thing and it was good to meet them and to go out there and get some action. We talked to the trainer and got some food, then we went over some things for the next day.
I have the bench press tomorrow and I have twelve or thirteen interviews, so that should be interesting. I just want to go out there and do well on my bench, show people how strong I am. So tomorrow should be a good day as well.
As told to Ed Thompson. Read more about Jonathan Dwyer in this exclusive NFL Draft Q&A feature and watch for his next installment of his Combine Diary.