2022 Offseason Questions: How Will Threatened Boycott Affect 2022 NFL Scouting Combine?

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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.

This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.

Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.

These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: How will the threatened boycott affect the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine?

It’s been a while now since we’ve had a ‘normal’ Combine, for reasons I imagine everyone here is aware. This one is feeling increasingly unlikely to be ‘normal’ as well, as the parties involved can’t seem to decide on the conditions of the event, which didn’t even take place beyond medical evaluations last year.

I confess I haven’t dug deep into this particular issue for the moment, as I wasn’t the one who wrote up the article, but from what I understand, there is a suggestion that individuals with access to participants have to be fully vaccinated, which is pretty late in the game to reveal that. There are also concerns about lodging, distancing, and other logistic measures, as well as access in general to said participants.

Purportedly, representatives of more than 150 projected Combine participants are prepared to have their clients ‘boycott’ the event, only consenting to medical evaluations and otherwise not participating in either the on-field or interview portions of the event. The NFLPA is supportive of this position.

Will this front push those in charge of the event to, again, modify the arrangements? The bubble restrictions have raised concerns that participants will be at a disadvantage in attempting to deliver their best performance, which is the entire point of being there.

It seems to me, quite frankly, that this entire ordeal is exposing some longstanding issues with the event that work against its very purpose. I don’t think I would complain too much if this leads to lasting changes that better favor the players and provide them a better opportunity to maximize their showing at the event, because that is good for everybody except the team hoping a player they have a beat on tanks at the event so they can draft them later.

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