2022 NFL draft combine: Agents organizing boycott over ‘bubble’ restrictions, per report
Agents representing more than 150 NFL draft prospects are organizing a boycott of all testing, on-field workouts and interviews at the NFL combine in Indianapolis if “bubble” restrictions for this year’s event aren’t changed, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The 2021 NFL Combine did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it was to return this year, as of now players are set to be confined to a “bubble.” The NFL laid out its restrictions in a memo this weekend. Many players will reportedly answer by boycotting the combine.
The bubble restrictions include prospects being allowed just one “medical support person” who must be fully vaccinated. The memo also states that players will be restricted to secure combine venues during their entire time in Indy, and that players who violate these policies will be disqualified and sent home.
Per Rapoport, players being denied access to their full team of coaches and trainers is a main sticking point, and if the NFL does not ease the planned restrictions, many top prospects will only complete medical evaluations at this year’s combine.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones wrote earlier this week about changes to the combine and how they could lead to players skipping the bench press. On Sunday, Jones added that changes may now lead to players skipping the combine.
The NFLPA had sent a letter to every agent earlier on Sunday denouncing the combine and its new restrictions:
“We have spoken to several agents to reinforce our long standing opposition to the NFL Scouting Combine and agree and support the decisions by those to not attend. The combination of the NFL’s proposed “bubble” and fact that we still have an antiquated system of every team doctor examining players and having them perform yet again needs serious modification or elimination. While we do not represent these players we have advocated for their rights to fair treatment.
“Our union has always encouraged players to take control of their careers from the very beginning and we appreciate that agents are looking at ways to support that goal.”