We all know Bill Belichick can be a curmudgeon. But his comments from last summer criticizing prospects for focusing too much on training for specific NFL Combine drills, rather than becoming better football players, wasn't some old man rant. It was sage advice.
Belichick addressed the "mistake" many rookies make preparing for their pro days and the ultimate showcase—next week's scouting combine—while neglecting actual football training this past summer and NESN.com unearthed the comments before the league departs for Indianapolis to measure, inspect, interview, and evaluate hundreds of players.
“I think that’s a huge mistake that a lot of those players make, but I’m sure they have their reasons for doing it,” Belichick said. “We’re training our players to play football, not to go through a bunch of those February drills. Yeah, our training is football intensive. We train them to get ready to play and ultimately that’s what they’re going to do. Maybe for some of those guys another activity in between or a pro day or whatever it is, but in the end, they’re going to make their career playing football. We already know that with our guys, and we don’t have to deal with any of that other stuff. We just train them for football. I think it’s huge.
“I think there are a lot of players and I think a lot of players learn from that, that they look at their rookie year and feel like, ‘I wasn’t really as physically as well prepared as maybe I was in college or what I will be in their succeeding years in the league,’ and train more for football and train less for the broad jump and three-cone drill and stuff like that. I think a lot of those guys hopefully learn that lesson and intensify their physical football training after they’ve had that year of, in a lot of cases, I would say non-football training or very limited training for actually football.”
How many prospects have we seen wow at the combine with a sub 4.5 40, a scintillating time in the three-cone drill, or a record-breaking performance on the bench press only to fail miserably on the field? Do the names Vernon Gholston, Charles Rogers, JaMarcus Russell, and Akili Smith ring a bell? And those are just the most high profile ones.
So go train with a speed specialist so you can run a blazing fast 40. Spend thousands of dollars to add an inch to your vertical leap. Hit the gym—all chest, no legs, like Kanye—so you can bang out 35 reps on the bench press. Yeah, you might get the attention of a perennial loser and get yourself drafted. You blowin' up, that's good, fantastic. But Bill Belichick and the Patriots couldn't care less.
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