Autograph seekers strike gold in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS — The prize of the NFL Scouting Combine is different for all parties involved. To teams, it’s finding that can’t-miss prospect. To fans, it’s finding that can’t-miss prospect for an autograph.

The last two nights, autograph hunters have filled the lobby of our downtown hotel, and judging by their haul, they’re doing well. One group of fans had alphabetically organized binders with 8×10 photos covered in signatures. Another group left the lobby pulling a suitcase filled with autographed helmets and assorted memorabilia.

Between workouts and interviews that can last all day, players have little time to accommodate everyone. Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford briskly walked into the lobby Saturday night, but the autograph seekers didn’t move, probably sensing that the possible No. 1 overall draft pick didn’t have time to stop and sign.

The autograph seekers might have become too myopic for their own good, though. As Bradford blew through the lobby, sprinter Michael Johnson sat just 20 feet away without being asked for a signature. Sure, he didn’t play in the NFL, but he did win four Olympic gold medals.

And what exactly is Johnson doing here? He’s helping prospects such as Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh work on their quickness.

— Justin Hathaway

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