No combine for old men

This is when you know you’re getting old.

You’re standing inside the media work area of the NFL Scouting Combine and you turn around to see a familiar face. The face belongs to a prospect, but that’s not why you know him.

“Hey, Danny,” I said to Dan Gronkowski, a tight end from the University of Maryland.

My first instinct wasn’t to flip open my notebook, turn on my tape recorder and conduct an interview, as is the case with every other prospect I see here. My first instinct was to give him a hug. That’s how you react with someone who has been to your house as a youngster.

Gronkowski attended grammar, junior high, and high school with my older daughter, Kristen. They were part of a group of friends that hung out together and were in Honor Society together at Williamsville North High School in suburban Buffalo, and graduated together.

Now, Danny, who I watched play quarterback in high school, is regarded as a tight end worthy of draft consideration. He is 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds. He catches the ball well and is a solid blocker.

Here’s something else to consider about Danny: He comes from a highly athletic family; his father played college football, two of his brothers are playing college football, including Rob, who went to grammar, junior high, and high school with my younger daughter, Lindsay, is currently a tight end at Arizona. Rob also has been to my house as a kid. And he, too, is going to be invited to the combine in a couple of years … if not sooner.

By then, I’m going to feel really old.

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