Prospects make individual-based combine a team sport

The NFL Scouting Combine has become more of a team sport than an individual contest. (Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com)

INDIANAPOLIS — One strange aspect of the NFL Scouting Combine is how it turns a team sport into an individual battle for prestige, draft placement and money — lots of money.

But don’t tell that to the prospects working out at Lucas Oil Stadium.

During drills Sunday, every receiver in attendance celebrated a great catch and constantly dispensed encouragement.

The same thing is happening Monday with the defensive linemen. In addition to the loud grunting and booming coach instructions that fill the stadium, there’s a medley of cheers and exhortations. These guys aren’t teammates, but they act like it.

“Whooo baby, way to go!” “Yeah, good work!” “You’re good, you’re good!” Those are just examples of some of the things the players scream to each other on the field.

Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy was asked about this phenomenon. Why support the other athletes if they’re your competition?

“When I was watching the combine earlier, I was trying to get behind them even more, like, ‘C’mon, man, catch the ball,'” McCoy said. “I love athletes. I’m a supporter of all athletes because I am one. I know how hard I worked to get here, and I’m pretty sure other people worked just as hard.”

Jason Feller

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