NFL to hold scouting combine in Tempe for veteran free agents

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The NFL has come up with another way to drum up even more excitement for the shield.

On Thursday, the league announced that it is starting a scouting combine for veteran free agents, similar to the combine they hold in Indianapolis, Ind., for college players looking to be selected in the NFL Draft.

The combine will be held on March 22 at the Arizona Cardinals training facility. The annual league meeting is already slated to be in Phoenix, Ariz., from March 22-25, so it made perfect sense to hold the combine at the same time team representatives are in town.

There’s expected to be about 100 players invited to the combine. It’ll be a mix of younger players and seasoned veterans trying to get attention by would-be suitors.

“I think it’s both,” NFL director of football development Matt Birk said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “Naturally it’ll probably draw more younger players. But there’s a void there. You come out of college, and there’s a lot of places to go to showcase your talent. After that, you can kind of be at the mercy of your agent, the teams and waiting for the phone to ring. … We also look at it as providing a service to the clubs.”

“A lot of times, they fly these free agents in two or three at a time, work them out, all of that. This will allow the teams and those players to be in the same place at once,” Birk sai

Birk said that the reaction from players when hearing about the combine was “very positive.” Players taking part in the combine will run drills, which will somewhat mirror what the college players have to run at the NFL scouting combine in February.

“This is more for the guys who aren’t in that first wave of free agency,” Birk said. “It just seemed like a good place to put it on the calendar. Guys just want a chance to show what they can do. Sometimes as a veteran, you can be a victim of out of sight, out of mind. I can speak from personal experience: Not everyone is a first-round draft pick. Not everyone is the free agent that every team wants. You just want a chance to showcase your talents and be seen.”



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