Q: Moving forward, how will things change if at all?
A: Lucas Oil Stadium offers a larger space for us, primarily in the meeting space. The goal with Lucas Oil Stadium is to use the facility for all phases of the event, whether it’s the medical phases or the workout phases. The interviews will probably still be at our headquarter hotel because it’s built well for that. We’re running some pilot programs now using our health partner, Clarion Health Partners. We’re running some test programs with a mobile MRI unit, to see about the possibility of using exclusively mobile units in the future through Clarion and our health care provider which would allow us to not have to take the athletes to the hospital at all let alone sometimes we take them as many as two or three times.
Q: What is the strength of this draft?
A: The strength of this draft? That’s probably a better question for Mr. Polian who is coming up next.
Q: How has the Combine grown?
A: With the increased popularity of the game, first and foremost, and the job that the media have done for 10 years is what has increased the numbers. I think in terms of this event, it’s just a natural segue from the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl to the Draft. It’s just a natural event. I think the event has worked hard to become more media friendly. The NFL communications department has done an excellent job in helping us as an event and in communicating with the competition committee to open it up and make it more media friendly.
Q: Do you know how many scouts are at the Combine?
A: I know there are about 1,900 NFL personnel.
Q: How many of those 1,900 are scouts?
A: Quick math would be 700 scouts. Then on top of that you have the personnel departments: personnel directors, directors of college scouting, national scouts. That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 – 1,000 in terms of personnel people: people making decisions based on the evaluations. The rest would be medical staff and things of that nature.
Q: Why was Calvin Dawson sent home?
A: Calvin had a medical exclusion.
Q: Neck injury?
A: Can’t go into what the injury was at this point.
Q: Just to clarify, will next season or the season after be when you move into the new stadium?
A: We will use it for the next event. For the 2009 Combine, we will be using Lucas Oil Stadium. We are guaranteed to be there for 2009 and 2010.
Q: Are there talks about it beyond 2010 and where you might go?
A: I don’t think we’ve gone into the conversations about elsewhere. The idea was because we were moving into a new venue, we would do a short-term deal, a two-year deal. Although, when we say â€˜short-term’ it’s longer than most of the deals we’ve done for the last 22 here. The partners we use in the city, the Sports Corps, and the different partners that we have, we’ve all been so comfortable in our relationships here that going beyond that is really a scheduling issue. It’s a scheduling issue for everybody involved, starting with the NFL’s master schedule and trying to find time. The idea behind doing 2009 and 2010 is in 2009 we get a real feel for the new venue and then in 2010 we can hopefully perfect and tweak any operational issues we have in the new venue. 2011 is when they’ve projected the new convention center will open. So as soon as they know the new dome is going to be open, my understanding is they will take down the RCA Dome and they will begin building a convention center. At that point, we wanted to leave it open for discussion of whether we will use both venues or just maintain everything in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Q: In your mind, Indy is going to be the home of the Combine?
A: I would hope so. The partners here have been fantastic. We are here as an organization now. We moved our organization here a year-and-a-half ago and I would probably be in trouble at home if we tried to move again.
Q: Is that the Competition Committee’s call?
A: It would start with the Competition Committee and then go to the 32 clubs which are shareholders in the event.
Q: Right now you are going Tuesday to Tuesday basically. When you consolidate things, can you shorten the Combine?
A: Well actually we lengthened it five or six years ago. We added a day. The reason for that is that we were trying to cram in too much in terms of the four different phases for the athletes: the medical testing, the psychological testing, the interviews and the physical workouts. So the Competition Committee added a day to the Combine a number of years ago in an effort to make sure the athletes had enough time to recover. For instance we were Cybex Testing them the first day and then 48 hours later we were asking them to run, which can sometimes be taxing on the athlete. So we expanded it a day to allow for a little more recovery time and a little more time to do all the things that the clubs have asked us to do.
Q: What does the psychological testing entail?
A: The psychological testing is actually handled by the individual clubs, so you would have to ask the clubs individually what type of testing they do. What we do is the scheduling for them. So, we will create the location and the teams will tell us if they have a tester. Then we will schedule the athletes in there. Then what they do with them from a testing standpoint is up to each individual club.
Q: Have other teams and cities lobbied to bring you guys to bring you guys to them?
A: Yes. We’ve talked to five cities. When we moved our company here a year-and-a-half ago, we had five cities that we talked to. Then we narrowed it down to three. Actually, we narrowed it down to two and we made a decision between those two cities. They were both fantastic opportunities.
Q: What were the cities?
A: The other city that was a finalist was Kansas City. There are certain parameters that we try to work within. We wanted a city that was centrally located so that all teams had access to it and it was easier to bring athletes. We didn’t want to be on one coast or the other. Obviously there needs to be an indoor facility. The nice thing about Indianapolis is they have all those things plus they have an area where you can take a cab to and then walk the rest of the time. I think we had somewhere around the neighborhood of, just with club personnel, 10,000 – 11,000 room nights during the seven days that we’re here. For that many people to be able to walk centrally to one area for all facilities was certainly a benefit.
Q: With regards to situations like that of De’Cody Fagg, what kind of insurance do players have here at the Combine considering his draft status is questionable?
A: First and foremost, our concern is getting the athlete healthy. We do have an insurance policy that covers the athletes if they are injured here.
Q: What is the value?
A: I can’t go into what the coverages are of our policies.
Q: That would be above and beyond anything he’s already taken out on himself?
A: Our insurance is primary, so we’ll certainly cover any medical procedures and any rehab that he needs to get back to 100%. My understanding is that their individual policies would protect them against catastrophic type injuries.
Courtesy of the NFL