On paper, the NFL implementing a Veteran Combine for the first time ever sounds like a novel concept. Guys buried on the depth chart or practice squad who would otherwise never have an opportunity to showcase their abilities on the field get to strut their stuff in front of actual NFL head coaches. Older guys who feel they've got enough mileage left to get through another season have the chance to prove it.
But the Veteran Combine can also provide a stark reality for players grasping on to their NFL dreams, the reality that they're no longer good enough to compete. And that can make the Veteran Combine a sad, sad place.
Michael Bush when he learned he ran a 4.91 40 at the Veteran Combine: 'You gotta be ****ing me. 4.91? There you go, there goes my career.'— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) March 22, 2015
Reading that quote from former Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush just kills. Bush had a productive six-year NFL career, his best coming in 2011 for the Raiders when he rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns. He headed to Chicago in 2012 to act as relief for Matt Forte and get touches at the goal-line. When things didn't pan out, he was released following the 2013 season. The Arizona Cardinals picked him up in November, only to cut him two weeks later. Having not played a single down of football in 2014, Bush hit the Veteran Combine looking for another shot. He runs a 4.91 40-Yard Dash and, well, that'll do it. You'd be hard pressed to find a team who wants to pay an aging running back putting up those types of numbers. How awful.
Then you've got Michael Sam saying things like "I am very confident that I will be playing football this year somewhere," a.k.a. "I guess the CFL doesn't sound that bad," before reporters started asking him about "Dancing With the Stars."
The Veteran Combine sounds like a terrible place.
[Via Kissing Suzy Kolber]