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NFLPA will hold pre-draft game in Los Angeles

Stanford University Luck scrambles away from University of Southern California Harris during their NCAA game in Los Angeles Reuters

Professional football is coming back to Los Angeles.

Sort of.

The NFLPA will hold a game in Los Angeles on January 21st featuring 100 draft eligible players split into two teams coached by Super Bowl winners Tom Flores and Dick Vermeil. The two men haven’t faced each other in a game since Super Bowl XV, when Flores’ Raiders beat Vermeil’s Eagles 27-10 in New Orleans.

“The NFL Players Association wants this to be more than just a game, they want it to be a NFL educational experience,” Vermeil said. “This will be these players’ first introduction to the National Football League without the pressure of making a team in training camp. By the time they are drafted and go to training camp they will have an understanding of what’s expected of them, having worked with NFL coaches and players for a week. There won’t be anything like this.”

Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com has all the details on the game, which will feature a week of practices with current and former NFL players who will counsel players on what to expect when they move up to the professional level. That makes the game, which will be called the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, similar to the Senior Bowl but there is one big difference.

The NFLPA game will also be open to underclassmen who make themselves available to the draft. That could mean players like Andrew Luck, Landry Jones and Justin Blackmon could play in the game, although it is far too early to start speculating on just which players will declare and whether they would put themselves into the game.

The other big thing about the game is the location. It will take place at the Home Depot Center, home of the MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA, but it is impossible to take any forays into Los Angeles as mere coincidence given how much chatter there is about putting a team back into the city. The fact that the Home Depot Center is owned by AEG, the group trying to build a new NFL stadium in the city, is another sign that there’s something more afoot here. NFLPA executive director Clark Gaines admitted there was some ulterior motive in an interview with Markazi.

“L.A. has not had a professional football presence for many years and we thought it would be a perfect opportunity now that they are trying to bring football back to L.A.,” Gaines said. “This might be a boost in that effort. Having a team in L.A. is very important and if we can help in any way we will.”

Whether or not this game helps that cause remains to be seen, but there will be an NFL vibe in L.A. next January for the first time in a long time.

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45 Responses to “NFLPA will hold pre-draft game in Los Angeles”
  1. AlanSaysYo says: Nov 7, 2011 4:32 PM

    Robert Edwards is flabbergasted.

  2. medtxpack says: Nov 7, 2011 4:32 PM

    risk of injury will keep big name players out of it.

  3. anhdazman says: Nov 7, 2011 4:32 PM

    I think this could be a very cool idea! All for it!

  4. jpiro says: Nov 7, 2011 4:34 PM

    One last chance to be injured before getting paid for it. I’m sure players will be signing up in droves!

  5. contract says: Nov 7, 2011 4:38 PM

    That game will be cancelled due to lack of participation.

  6. kd75 says: Nov 7, 2011 4:39 PM

    Its all fun and games until someone tears their ACL.

  7. meglasdad says: Nov 7, 2011 4:39 PM

    The big name players won’t participate in the combine citing injury concerns so they are going to play in a game? Good luck with that one.

  8. jimmysee says: Nov 7, 2011 4:40 PM

    What is the date of the Super Bowl?

  9. kd75 says: Nov 7, 2011 4:42 PM

    And if I’m Andrew Luck, I spend all my time after the Bowl game until the Draft in a padded room wearing a suit of armor with no sharp objects in sight.

  10. terrellpryorstattooartist says: Nov 7, 2011 4:43 PM

    Money money money money money money money money money for more info on why it’s so important to have an NFL team in LA see the old man from the end of Vegas vacation

  11. moochzilla says: Nov 7, 2011 4:46 PM

    Why would Luck play in this game? To improve his draft position? Stop it.

    Yet another college “All-Star” game comprised of 5th-7th round picks from small schools.

  12. Justified By God says: Nov 7, 2011 4:50 PM

    Probably projected 6th, 7th, and UDFA’s are most likely to participate.

  13. nomoreseasontix says: Nov 7, 2011 4:51 PM

    Brilliant idea!!!
    Oh… Except for agents advising their new clients not to play due to injury concerns.
    Other than that, two thumbs up!!!

  14. sbxxix says: Nov 7, 2011 4:52 PM

    This is a good and bad idea.

    Bad idea for top ten guys to play in for obviouis reasons. Good idea for those whose are trying to bring up their stock. It will be like a combine and it will give some guys a chance to maybe bump up in the draft and make a little extra $$$. We all know how important that is in the today’s NFL

  15. The Phantom Stranger says: Nov 7, 2011 4:52 PM

    Yeah, I’m sure Andrew Luck will be playing in this game.

  16. nashvilletrojan says: Nov 7, 2011 4:57 PM

    On the surface, this is a brilliant marketing scheme for both AES and the NFLPA. Could it eventually replace the Senior Bowl?

  17. txxxchief says: Nov 7, 2011 4:57 PM

    Another Senior Bowl? I wonder who would care about another all-star game in which everyone is really avoiding injury rather than trying to win. I used to love the old college all-star versus NFL champion games that they used to play up until the 70’s. The college players truly wanted to win, and the pros would not allow themselves to be humiliated. It will never happen again.

  18. steelbydesign says: Nov 7, 2011 5:00 PM

    Sounds like a cool idea to me.

    Who cares if some of the big names don’t participate, better chance for some of the late rounders to get noticed.

  19. zoxitic says: Nov 7, 2011 5:01 PM

    Why dont they just expand the league to 34 teams and give LA an expansion team?

  20. Peter Venkman says: Nov 7, 2011 5:01 PM

    Gotta warm up the place for when the Vikings move in.

  21. lacharger2112 says: Nov 7, 2011 5:05 PM

    Isn’t that what Europe should be used for instead of playing an actual meaningful game over there?

  22. callmecougar says: Nov 7, 2011 5:05 PM

    Sounds like it’s going to end up being a rematch Mount Union vs. Rowan. Can’t see anyone other than DIII’s showing up for this.

  23. bunjy96 says: Nov 7, 2011 5:08 PM

    What player is going to risk injury in this game?

    Only the ones who won’t get drafted.

    Stupid idea!

  24. allforfunnplay says: Nov 7, 2011 5:10 PM

    bunch of 6th, 7th and probable undrafted free agents will be playing this game. why risk injury if you’re projected to go in the top 3 rounds? i probably wouldn’t risk it if I was projected to go in the 4th or 5th round unless I had a good chance of showing that I’m over an injury and could jump up a round or two.

  25. blackandtealforeal says: Nov 7, 2011 5:16 PM

    Who would risk the injury? Not very wise to me.

  26. joejoe81 says: Nov 7, 2011 5:27 PM

    LA, you are trying really hard, we can see that.

    But the problem is, that no one cares about you.

    You had your chance with 2 NFL teams. You let both go, and now you want another. I don’t think so.

    I have an idea though. Why don’t we give LA the Pro Bowl. No one cares about the pro bowl either, so it is just more convenient to have both int he same place.

  27. AndyGasparini says: Nov 7, 2011 5:44 PM

    I liked it better as Texas v. The Nation.

  28. earthtopft says: Nov 7, 2011 5:46 PM

    Giving the eager young prospects one final chance to wreck the knees of those guys ahead of them on the draft list.

  29. lanflfan says: Nov 7, 2011 5:51 PM

    Actually joejoe, if you paid any attention, both teams departed of their own choosing. LA, and LA football fans, did not have much choice in the matter.

    The Rams left LA for money. Their Rams former owner, the finally departed SeaHag, couldn’t make enough money here in LA fielding piss poor teams living off past glory so in order to continue to afford her yearly facelifts she bolted to St Louis, where they were desperate/stupid enough to make it rain.

    The Raiders left because of Al Davis. No one understands why he bolted back to Oakland, but money was definitely a huge part of it.

    Don’t believe the media crap about LA. There is a lot of support here for football, as much as any other large city.

    P.S. When it’s all cold and snowy soon wherever you live, I’ll be working on my tan here in LA. Have fun shoveling snow, I’ll go buy another bottle of sunscreen and shed a tear for ya.

  30. cowboyhater says: Nov 7, 2011 5:52 PM

    Love the idea, but realistically the only players who would participate are the “bubble” guys, who will be drafted from the 4th round on. Still would be fun to watch.

  31. weiser5150 says: Nov 7, 2011 5:53 PM

    bet the game will be blacked out.

  32. upperdecker19 says: Nov 7, 2011 5:59 PM

    I think that the game has already been officially blacked out on local LA television.

  33. upperdecker19 says: Nov 7, 2011 6:07 PM

    joejoe81 says:
    Nov 7, 2011 5:27 PM
    LA, you are trying really hard, we can see that.

    But the problem is, that no one cares about you.

    As an LA area resident, I can guarantee you that…

    A. We are not trying hard (we’re practically being given a new stadium).
    B. We care even less about everyone else out there.

    A majority of SoCal’s enjoy the double headers in HD every Sunday a heck of a lot more than going to a game for a team we barely care about (whatever team that is). Primary reason we want the new stadium?

    A. Most of us aren’t LA County residents. As the population is primarily in the surrounding suburbs. Thus, no extra taxation for the majority out here.
    B. Get a chance to attend a Super Bowl every 4-5 years.

  34. fpbear says: Nov 7, 2011 6:09 PM

    Yes, the connections to AEG’s messed up downtown stadium proposal makes me laugh. First of all, ESPN’s Arash Markazi is a big time cheerleader for AEG’s stadium plan, writing biased articles in their favor. Second, the downtown stadium would use AstroTurf plastic grass because space constraints would require a domed roof design. Third, AEG runs the Home Depot center field. I sure hope the NFL draft players don’t get injured on a fake AstroTurf field right before they have a chance to make the draft..

  35. phreakin says: Nov 7, 2011 6:11 PM

    I’m sure we’ll all be watching 100 of the 4th string college players in a game. If this kind of “common sense” runs the NFLPA, they are going to be in trouble for a LONG time

  36. phreakin says: Nov 7, 2011 6:11 PM

    I like the idea of the Pro Bowl being in LA.

  37. rexryansdirtysock says: Nov 7, 2011 6:19 PM

    This is likely to make more underclassmen who aren’t ready for the pros (aka Darius Walker) declare for the draft, since they normally don’t get to participate in the “Bowl All-Star season.”

    While people may think this is going to be another game of “scrubs,” I’ll take whatever NFL draft fix I can get, and I think it’s a pretty cool thing that some underclassmen with “upside” will get to participate in an All-Star game with an NFL atmosphere / coaching.

  38. captainloaded says: Nov 7, 2011 6:34 PM

    So, will the players who participate in this event get 50 percent of the earnings this game takes in? Gate and T.V. revenue??

  39. bobnelsonjr says: Nov 7, 2011 7:50 PM

    A pleasant appetizer before the Vikings main course in the fall. It will help sell season tickets.

    Maybe the Vikings will do well in the warm fresh air and sunlight of LA and the less liberal California laws.

    Quite a contrast from the dark stale metrodome and socialist Minnesota.

    Good Luck in LA.

  40. skullraider says: Nov 7, 2011 9:05 PM

    I guarantee the Raider Nation will be in the house!!! L.A. Is Raider town!!!

  41. marinemike1132 says: Nov 7, 2011 9:28 PM

    Great!!! The nflpa makes $$$ off players who will NOT be in their labor union & rookies they negotiated against during the last CBA!!

    That’s pimpin’ at its finest NFLPA….dick cheney & don king would be IMPRESSED !!

  42. 4evrnyt says: Nov 8, 2011 1:58 AM

    So if you are projected to go in the 5th 6th or 7th rounds you’ll show up in the hopes of getting drafted higher otherwise there is no way in freaking hades your agent is gonna let you go out and play in this game.

  43. goawayeverybody says: Nov 8, 2011 2:23 AM

    I just hope the ticket prices aren’t something ridiculous like a hundred bucks or something. I keep wishing I could afford to go to an NFL game but the prices are outrageous and my small business is suffering. :(

  44. khmer379 says: Nov 8, 2011 2:45 AM

    Thumps down to all the viking to LA talk V aint going nowhere next year xcept da playoff I kno LA want da vikrs badly so they can have matching color scheme wit da lakerz go steal sumother team

  45. godofwine330 says: Nov 8, 2011 9:54 AM

    (Morgan Freeman Narrates)

    I wish I could tell you that the draftees played the good game, and the Injury Bug let him be. I wish I could tell you that – but Exhibition Football is no fairy-tale world. Robert Edwards never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile – Exhibition Football consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Players would show up with fresh bruises. The Injury Bug kept at them – sometimes he was able to fight ‘em off, sometimes not.

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