Report: 155 NFL Draft Prospects Prepared to Boycott Combine Over Bubble Restrictions

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 21, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 30: A view of the NFL logo on a football before the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 30, 2022 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL Scouting Combine plans to utilize "bubble" environments in Indianapolis, but a number of prospects reportedly won't participate in most activities under that protocol.

Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported agents of more than 150 prospects are organizing a boycott of testing, on-field workouts and interviews if the rules aren't changed. Players reportedly want access to a full team of coaches and trainers instead of being able to invite just one support person.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk provided more details, noting, "155 players represented by 13 different agencies are prepared to announce on Monday a formal boycott of the 2022 Scouting Combine."

The agents apparently have the backing of the NFL Players Association.

Per Pelissero, the NFLPA sent a memo to agents that pointed to its "long standing opposition to the NFL Scouting Combine."       

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The NFLPA just sent this memo to agents, reinforcing the union’s “long standing opposition to the NFL Scouting Combine” and expressing support for those who don’t attend in light of the “bubble” environment this year. <a href="https://t.co/ktjv346B2J">pic.twitter.com/ktjv346B2J</a>

Pelissero reported the NFL sent a memo to prospects Saturday explaining the "bubble" plan and noting, "Players who violate this policy at any time will be disqualified from further participation and sent home."

Last year's combine was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports noted one major change in this year's plan was to hold all the measurements, bench press and on-field workouts in one day instead of spreading them out.

If 155 players go through with a boycott, that leaves approximately half of the 324 invited participants to fully participate in the combine. While teams and scouts can still gather information about the boycotting players, it surely isn't what the NFL has in mind with the return of the annual event ahead of the draft.

Perhaps some back-and-forth leading up to the March 1 start date could lead to a resolution or compromise. For now, drama is unfolding ahead of the event.