Agents grumbling about John Lott’s weight-room antics

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For years, Cardinals strength coach John Lott has been adding a “good TV” vibe to one of the events from the Hoosier Heptathlon (hey, if everyone is going to start swiping our “Underwear Olympics” label, we need to come up with a new name for the thing).  Specifically, as players try to bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, Lott barks at them to keep pushing.

It’s not an uncommon dynamic in weight rooms.  Guys sometimes need external motivation to push themselves.  At the Scouting Combine, however, the external motivation is fairly obvious.

And with at least one torn pec being suffered this year during the event (by Iowa tackle Markus Zusevics), agents have been complaining about the effort to get the players to squeeze out a final rep that could blow out a muscle or a tendon.

“Who cares if my guy gets 24 instead of 27 reps?” one agent told PFT.  “No one has ever won a football game because of how many times a guy can lift 225 pounds with his arms.”

The easy answer is for any player who is concerned about injury to pass on the event.  The better answer is to ditch the hoo-rah baloney and treat these kids like the men they’re now expected to be.  No one is yelling at them to run faster in the 40-yard dash; why does someone need to try to persuade them to strain past discomfort and into the territory of injury?

100 responses to “Agents grumbling about John Lott’s weight-room antics

  1. “No one has ever won a football game because of how many times a guy can lift 225 pounds with his arms.”

    Yeah you’re right dude, it’s way better to be soft and weak. What’s next, you want your player to run a 6.0 forty so that will impress the GM’s too? You can’t predict injuries, they could get injured during the vertical leap or positional drills also. I think John Lott helps the bench press competition tremendously!

  2. This complaint is a little silly.

    The agents should just tell their guy what rep range he should target and then just put the thing back on the rack when he hits the target.

    If the agents don’t tell their clients to ignore the barking orangutan barking above them, that’s on them, not the orangutan.

  3. Hes doing his job. Spotting for the players all while trying to help them improve their draft stock. Id tell the agents to go fly a kite.

  4. You don’t blow a pec because of one or two additional reps…

    You blow a pec because you have a bad form and frankly, many athletes have a very, very bad form.

  5. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually agree with the agents.

    What’s next, I suddenly start agreeing that we need a 18 game regular season?

    I think I need to seek medical attention….

  6. Meat heads, like Coach John Lott, go together with bench press like peas and carrots. If you don’t understand yelling at player to push himself then you don’t understand football.

  7. “Who cares if my guy gets 24 instead of 27 reps?” one agent told PFT. “No one has ever won a football game because of how many times a guy can lift 225 pounds with his arms.”
    _________________________________

    Dear Puny Agent nerd –

    You use your chest to bench, not your arms. If your using your arms, you’re doing it wrong.

  8. Have these guys complaining ever been in a weight room? Happens everyday…

    And are these agents saying that the strength guys they are hiring to get these guys ready for the combine aren’t yelling in the weight room? If that’s the case then they need new strength coaches.

  9. “why does someone need to try to persuade them to strain past discomfort and into the territory of injury?”

    Because the Combine is 99% just a carnival side show, circus act for hungry fans.

    More TV revenue for the NFL.

    The only things that GMs really care about are the interviews and medical reports.

    If you need a weekend Combine to replace 3 or 4 years of game tape, then your million dollar GM salary should be kicked to the curb.

  10. ““No one has ever won a football game because of how many times a guy can lift 225 pounds with his arms.”

    But games have been lost by how many times a guy couldn’t lift 225 pounds.

  11. This game is a war of attrition. “Who cares if my guy gets 24 instead of 27 reps”…. maybe the coach who wants to know if the player on his team can give him that crucial block in the 4th quarter, or the player that can shed that blocker and make the tackle. Can I give this much more? I can give this much more than the guy in front of me? Or is he going to eat my lunch.

    We love to talk about individual wins on a field of 11 men vs 11 men. This event may be a small sample of the man williness to push it more then the next guy.

    Nobody tells Ray-Ray that his yelling and chest pounding is treating his teammate like kids.

  12. Well no one ever won a game solely based on how fast their 40 was or how far and high they jumped, but that still dramatically raises or lowers their draft stock. Look what’s happening to the LB from Miami (Spence I think), he only managed 12 reps and now he’s sliding. So I guess it really does matter, huh?

  13. Obviously few agents have been around serious weight training. This type of “encouragment” is pretty standard stuff when you go from quiet personal lifting to the “show what you’ve got” lifting with multiple guys.
    If you say they should be treated like men, fine, but realize that as men it is up to them to know when to say when and put up the bar.

    I saw at least one hammy pull on the 40 too by the way, and that with the only screaming coming from the voice inside their head to do the best they can.

  14. My sources tell me John Lott knits sweaters when he’s away from football, so he’s not a 100% macho screamer.

  15. if they want to be treated like adults? maybe they should get a lollipop if they make one more lift, would that be better? Good grief, they’re supposed to be grown men, tell them to put on their big boy pants and deal with it or go home.

  16. PFT is claiming “underwear Olympics”? Seriously? That’s what Michael Irvin used to call the Cowboys’ off-season shirt-and-shorts workouts, going back to 1995. Texas sportswriters then started using the term off and on over the years to describe the light practices that emphasized non-football exercises. A simple search of published archives shows this is true.

  17. Yes, because football is a sport that rewards mediocrity and under-achieving. Only those who don’t stand out are rewarded, all others are cast off and punished for stepping out. A guy whose on the bubble who puts up 27 reps instead of 24 is the difference between being drafted and bagging groceries. You are killing the competitive drive in a guy by limiting what he can do. Two things get accomplished with a “Bench Sergeant”, first, when you do put up that extra rep, you feel great, you just pushed that 225 lb. bar right in that A-Holes face, and second, if you didn’t put it up? Your pissed, he got the better of you, so you go out to prove him wrong. If 21 yr old males are men, why do they need agents to tell them what to do? Agents are the filth that will one day screw the NFL.

  18. If that is how agents feel, then shouldn’t they be complaining about the event itself? If the sentiment is how worthless the bench is to football, clearly that should be the gripe, not the man motivating these guys to performs the best they can at their most important interview of their life.

  19. Poor John Lott risks tearing his vocal chords with each scream trying to help these kids out, getting nothing out of these kids putting up an extra rep, and THIS is the thanks he gets?

    luckynumberlucas got it right.

  20. Also, the bench press isn’t about “Arm Strength”, it’s about core strength and endurance. If this was about strength, they’d load that baby up with 350+ lbs and see who can do 1 rep. The guy who mentioned “Crucial Block in the 4th Quarter” is dead on, can you eek out that last little bit with the game on the line? Or are you going to give up because you may pull a muscle?

  21. You honestly don’t tear anything or hurt yourself unless you have bad form.

    The reason why someone might have bad form is from doing to many reps and the form gets sloppy. Or they may have not been taught proper form to begin with.

  22. @luckynumberlucas:
    Couldn’t agree more! I’m tired of hearing that a player with a bum leg won’t have a problem in the bench press. Proper form requires your legs planted firmly at a 90 degree angle allowing you to drive with your legs with each rep.

    Lott is doing his job to help these players put up the best numbers they can. No different than that Steelers asst coaching guys to not roll out of their stance in the 40. If they don’t like Lotts barking they can ignore him. And if a player can’t manage to tune someone out when needed (not necessarily a coach) then a torn pec isn’t the only thing that will be getting in the way of his career.

  23. UP!

    Really, that’s the best part of the combine. I do, however, have issues with that creepy linebackers coach running the LB pass coverage drills. He’s from the 49ers, and you might know him as the guy that lines up the prospect over the ball and then launches into porno-speak.

    “Oooohhh..you want that ball? Yeeaaahh..you’re gonna get that ball?!? Yea?!? You want it, don’t you?? Go! Finish!”

  24. @ibreathefootball ” I think John Lott helps the bench press competition tremendously!”

    See you’ve got it all wrong. It’s not a (direct) competition.

    It’s just a measuring stick teams can use. There is no blue ribbon for most reps. Most teams just want to make sure you can bench X number of times depending on your position. If you do 5 or 10 more than that it doesn’t matter.

  25. Turk, the truth is that the comment was about the difference between 27 and 24 reps, not 27 reps and 12 reps.

    However, while there’s truth that the difference between 27 and 24 will not affect someone’s draft status, the point of the bench press is to do as many as you can without injuring yourself.

    The injury is on the player for (take your pick), bad form, bad judgement, or bad condition.

    The injury is not on John Lott.

    Do as many presses as you can without hurting yourself… or as parents still tell kids in little league, “do your best.”

    It’s that simple.

  26. John Lott is considered to be one of the very finest strength and conditioning coaches in the NFL. The Cardinal (and his former) players love him. He’s very highly respected. We should all know better than to listen to one word an agent says.

  27. The barking orangutan is there for the “made for television” drama ! Gotta pump those ratings. HaaHaaaaaaaaa !

  28. Hmmm…all I heard from the agent with his complaint is “that injury just cost me commission money”.
    To the dude who says the Combine is just a sideshow for fans then why did they have it long before it was televised? It has some use, it’s just not the be-all end-all. And it isn’t there for the FANS. It is TELEVISED because they know how crazy a lot of us are for anything NFL. And I am guilty as charged.

  29. John Lott is one of, if not THE best Conditioning Coach in the NFL.

    If these whining agents don’t like it, they can tell their clients to put on headphones and crank up the volume on their IPOD.

  30. Thats just great. Trying too hard now has joined the NFLs list of fad injuries. Turf toes, concussions, pulled groins and torn stomach muscles as the modern injuries that players played through 20 years ago. Oh yes and as Peyton Hillis proved cold and flu season can now bench a player 3 games.

    If it was up to player agents combine workouts would stop after his player started sweating too profusely.

  31. The agent is mad because he lost a payday.

    Part of being an athlete is operating on adrenaline. Strength coaches get paid to increase an athletes performance. This guy is doing what every coach does in every locker room in the country.

  32. wow this is the type of drivel that I expect from Rosenthal. Have you ever had it help when someone said come on you can do another rep on the bench. If you have not you have not been in the weight room. What happens when someone yells at you while you are running the 40. Nothing at best, distraction at worst. So comparing the two is pointless.

  33. Lawyers only care if they stand to loose money. They do not give rats a$$ what their clients have to do as long as their 15 percent is in th bag. Professional sports agents rank below politicians on the oxygen thief scale.

  34. “Who cares if my guy gets 24 instead of 27 reps?” one agent told PFT. “No one has ever won a football game because of how many times a guy can lift 225 pounds with his arms.”

    But the agent will care if the player move up 10 spots in the draft because of a good bench press number. The player will get an additional $100,000 more per year and the agent’s commission is 10%. Then it will matter.

    If a college kid jumps higher, runs faster and lifts more than what was expected, GMs will cross check combine skills with on field production. The combine will get some people noticed. Good or bad they will get noticed.

  35. “No one has ever won a football game because of how many times a guy can lift 225 pounds with his arms.”

    ================================

    I think Ray Lewis and James Harrison have Super Bowl rings that would speak otherwise.

  36. I’m no expert on the subject, but in every weight room I’ve ever been in, the spotter is encouraging the lifter to push out one more rep. These aren’t newbies that don’t understand their physical limits. They should know when to quit. I don’t feel any more sorry for the guys with torn pecs than I do for players who tweak a hamstring because they couldn’t be bothered to stretch.

  37. Games are not won by how many times a lineman can push 225 lbs. In a game it’s usually 240 to 340 lbs and that guy is pushing back. The combine is doing players a favor by doing 225 lb bench press reps and not 375 squat reps.

  38. realitypolice says:
    Feb 28, 2012 1:26 PM
    This complaint is a little silly.

    The agents should just tell their guy what rep range he should target and then just put the thing back on the rack when he hits the target.

    If the agents don’t tell their clients to ignore the barking orangutan barking above them, that’s on them, not the orangutan.

    —————————-

    Agreed. Shoot for the average at your position if youre that concerned.

    However, If Im a 7th round possible pick, I listen to Lott, and try to get another rep because he called me meathead.

  39. John Lott, like many of the refs and agents themselves are just trying to be part of the “show” and draw attention. Lott is just stealing press from the kids who actually play the game. These d-bags seem to think that the fans who pay for the games are interested in their antics and/or they can make a few extra bucks in endorsement deals by injecting themselves into the game or in this case the combine.

    I would like to see one of the players tell this over the hill meatheat to funk off during their bench press. If that was my kid, I would personally tell Lott to get lost and let him do his thing on his own.

  40. The only things that GMs really care about are the interviews and medical reports.

    If you need a weekend Combine to replace 3 or 4 years of game tape, then your million dollar GM salary should be kicked to the curb.

    That’s why coaches, scouts and GMs from every team in the league are all lined up at the 40 yard line with their own stop watches clocking every player because all that matters are the interviews and med reports, right?

    It’s all about confirmation and affirmation, this is not a science (no secret) these players are going to get paid millions of dollars, you check everything on a possible investment.

  41. turk2875 – How do you know if Spence is dropping due to his bench press? Nobody will know until draft day. Stop with the high school hero nonsense already. The bottom line is Spence wil be playing in the NFL next season and you wil be playing in 18 fantasy leagues.

  42. my god, if you’re client can’t handle getting yelled at in the weight room, imagine what will happen when the coaches are screaming at him in 90 degree weather in training camp. With no cameras.

    If I were a GM I would want to see how my future million dollar investment handled being motivated and yelled at. Did he cry? Did he push it? Did he get mad? etc.

  43. It is important for teams to know that you are willing to push yourself to do more than you think you are capable of.

    It’s a good thing soldiers don’t have agents.

  44. The better answer is to ditch the hoo-rah baloney and treat these kids like the men they’re now expected to be. No one is yelling at them to run faster in the 40-yard dash; why does someone need to try to persuade them to strain past discomfort and into the territory of injury?

    Mike I like you, but on this you are wrong. You want a player to be as relaxed as possible before a sprint. Nerves will tighten you up, once you’re tight you don’t run as fast. Watch a spinter before they get on the block or a swimmer before their heat, they try to be as relaxed as possible before the gun. For bench press you need to motivate to maximize their potential. Different coaching techniques are used for different stations at the combine, all intended to maximize potential for the future draft picks.

  45. It’s up to the athlete how many reps they think they can do. Once they make the decision to try for another rep, that’s on them. But, as long as they are trying for more reps, they’re going to have this guy pumping them up.

    And why not? The comparison to the 40-yd dash is erroneous… the bench press is the only test where fatigue and endurance play a significant part. For that reason, alone, you’re going to have people giving encouragement.

    Strange I can’t give thumbs up to some of the posts on this thread. Anyone else notice that?

  46. I hate to see a player get hurt, but who cares if some freakin agent loses his cut? He doesn’t give a sh!t about the player. He cares about his percentage!

    Agents have already ruined baseball.

  47. If we’re going to treat them like men, then let the guy rip their heads off for some motivation. Or should we coddle them and bare an open teat for them to suckle in the weight room because they might get hurt in a physical profession? Please…

  48. There’s nothing wrong with this…I do this with my kids every meal. One more cheriooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

  49. The screaming isn’t half as bad as his tight shorts. He stands right over the Benchpresser’s head with Spandex on and has a semi-boner most of the time, that’s a disgrace……at least people would know when a Benchpresser gets distracted, if he does, DO NOT draft him!!!

  50. You do realize that the vast majority of Olympic events are performed in something resembling underwear right? Underwear Olympics not only sounds juvenile but makes no real sense when you think about it. Not sure why you are so obsessed with the fact they are wearing Under Armor or whatever anyhow, it is like a twelve year old giggling at something they think is naughty.

  51. It’s called football & passion. If you have a problem with it, don’t watch it and I’m certain you never were a part of it. The passion & respect is what you’re seeing with Lott & those who complain will never understand the sacred nature of the game. A game for men and not for soft/weak/pretenders. Keep your prints off the game. This is sickening

  52. The agents have had it in for lot since he “bullied” Lady Quinn into doing the bench press back in 2007. The plan was for Quinn not to do the bench press, but after being harrased by Lott calling him “Sunshine.” He got on the bench. He put up a good number for a QB, but I think his draft stock fell as GMs saw him as weak minded for giving into pressure and not following the plan he had with his agent. JaMarcus Russell didn’t bench press, but if he had I’m guessing he might have made it to two.

  53. Pretty sure I dont want the guy who quits with 3 reps left in him because “there’s no difference” or “that’s enough.”

    I want a guy who is gonna give 110% every down every play. Quitting early is BS.

    It’s about effort, preparation and desire. Can you push yourself for the best you can give or will you quit? When it comes to playing in the NFL, especially since a lot of these guys are fighting to be drafted, I would say quitting isn’t a very valid option.

  54. Have you seen those 4th quarter arm tackles that the backs ran through? Those defenders are the guys who did not have any extra 225 pound lifts left.

    So the lift count IS VERY IMPORTANT.

  55. Who the heck tears a pec while benching? He must have been gripping too widely or bounced way too hard.

  56. Maybe this agent hit the books instead of the weight room in highschool/college. Let the football people handle football. Your an agnt stick to your negotiation. What’s the stats on player who hurt himself on the Benchpress in draft history? 0? Lol let the coach do his damn job.

  57. The better answer is to ditch the hoo-rah baloney and treat these kids like the men they’re now expected to be.
    ——————————

    Says the guy who strains just to lift his laptop bag.

  58. Wait a minute, the guy that tore his pec is from Iowa.

    Now less than a year ago it was the Iowa strength and conditioning coach that was under NCAA investigation because of a report that “multiple student athletes”, I believe it was 12, were admitted to the hospital for Rhabdomyolysis, which means their muscles were literally breaking down.

    Funny how that shows up a year later. This agent is ridiculous, how could he say such stupid words? An extra rep or 2 doesn’t win a game? No it doesn’t and neither does running under a 4.5 40 yard dash either, but it puts a he// of a lot more money in your pocket

  59. ibreathefootball:
    So Dude,how does a couple of extra reps correlate to being a better player. If if was a matter of weights and running, the NFL would simply sign track guys and weightlifters. It is easy to be tough with another man’s body huh?

  60. That might be the dumbest thing I ever heard.
    1. The agent that said that obviously has never power lifted before. Anyone who has knows a good spotter can push you to get reps you don’t think you can get.
    2. This argument about not needing to get 27 reps when 24 is good enough does not cut it either. The point of being there is to be measured.
    3. I am not a doctor but I have only seen those kind of injuries in real life from steroid users. Typically the muscle grows fast but the tendons strengthen at a normal rate. The muscle is able to move more weight but weak link in the chain gives out. Not saying that happened here but if it did then it was the agents job to know it and have a game plan to deal with it.

  61. I’m glad someone brought this up, not because I think the agents have a legit complaint but because I’m tired of John Lott.

    From a sports science perspective, the yelling, hooting and hollering may actually hinder the extra reps.

    Imagine how hard it would be focusing to harness your strength and get those last reps in when you got this blowhard screaming in your face.

    Another annoying apect is his insistance on giving this from behind bear hug which ends up looking like a choke hold.

    You can tell it annoyes them having this ol’ timey yokel grab at them just as they’re trying to get up.

    Jeesh John, keep your hands to yourself! Quit endulging your own ego and focus on your job, making sure the bar doesn’t crush the athlete’s larynx!

  62. Anybody who has ever lifted weights knows its the spotter’s job to motivate the lifter. So stupid.

  63. If anyone thinks that John Lott is more annoying than motivational. I ask they search the name Scott Cochran, the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Alabama. I’m sure the 5 possible first rounders from that school would owe a lot to him.

  64. Man what BS…these kids are bustin their ass to earn a job…this guy is trying to motivate them to give their all..money hungry agents worried about losing a buck or two…smh!

  65. John Lott is without question the most respected Strength Coach in the country. Would someone please tell Marcus’ agent to “GET HIS MIND RIGHT” and quit whining… and if his boy can’t benchpress 225 he doesn’t belong in the NFL!

  66. This is the kind of stuff that is ruining the league. John Lott is simply motivating these young men to push it to the limit. If the agents freak out over it, good luck in OTA and minicamp. Football is a sport that rewards people for their strength and athletics as well as their smarts. If a player is dumb enough to get an agent to hold him out of the bench press, go play soccer

  67. The number of high school hero, Al Bundy types that post on this site is really funny. There is a reason you are behind your computer playing fantasy football and these kids are at the NFL combine and it has NOTHING to do with attention seeking d-bags like John Lott.

    Lott is just trying to make a name for himself at the expense of these kids. His yelling and arm waving has NO IMPACT on what these kids bench or how they will play on the field. If he was so great, he wouldn’t be a low level coach with the stinking Arizona Cards.

    Now go get your funking shine box!

  68. richardhurtz and all other haters:

    All of you making negative comments about John Lott have no idea what you are talking about! I’ve known John for over 30 years and his “antics” are not rehearsed. He is a very motivated person and loves his job. He sincerely wants the guys to succeed and has no stake in their results. Make a name for himself? If you ask any player he has coached in his 15 years in the NFL and they love and respect the guy.

    “Low level coach?” You obviously have no clue about the value of a strength and conditioning coach.

  69. txtombosinger – Yeah, 15 years and the highest he has risen is “strength and conditioning coach”. That is one step above “quality control specialist”. Also I haven’t noticed any bidding wars for his services if he is that “valuable” and “respected”. He is a attention seeking clown who crawls out from the Cards weight room once a year to get himself on TV at the expense of the kids at the combine. Period.

    Now what are you still doing here? I thought I told you to go get your funking shine box!

  70. push ups, pull-ups, and dips: nothing will get you a more fit in the upper body. benching 500 pounds is damn impressive but some people are better built for that workout. some of those dudes are so damn huge they only have to lower the bar 6 inches until they hit their chest.

    they should also do squats in the draft. i’d like to see some of these guys rack it up. dead lift too. that is a beastly workout. but you’d probably have guys throw out their backs trying to show off.

  71. why does someone need to try to persuade them to strain past discomfort and into the territory of injury?

    Maybe its not a strength test, maybe its really an IQ test?

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