Did Reuben Foster altercation result from an effort to get under players’ skin?

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ESPN made a big splash on Friday night with the report that Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster was sent home from the Scouting Combine after having a “heated altercation” with a hospital worker. After further review, it’s looking and sounding a lot less sinister.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that a “miscommunication” resulted in the argument escalating, after Foster had been waiting “for an extended period” to be examined. Foster became impatient, and he began to question the worker. The worker reacted in a negative way, and it resulted in Foster and the hospital worker going face to face in a heated exchange.

Per Schefter, league officials are reviewing the procedures that triggered the incident, which occurred with other players present. (Which could partially explain Foster’s decision to adopt the tough-guy approach.) The league also is looking into whether improvements can be made when it comes to letting the players know why they’re waiting and for how long.

It also makes sense to explore whether the hospital worker was a little too aggressive, abrupt, and/or sanctimonious.

A league spokesman tells PFT that Foster left for “personal reasons.” However, PFT has confirmed that, indeed, an altercation occurred while Foster was waiting — and that nothing like that had ever happened before even though plenty of other players have waited plenty of times.

Coincidentally, NFLPA president Eric Winston touched on that very issue at the outset of his recent visit to PFT Live at the Scouting Combine.

“It’s a tough week,” Winston said, reflecting on his experiences from 2006. “I remember flying in and getting right to it. Meetings and the examination process. They get you up early to drug test you, then they put you through the medical paces and pull on you, prod you. I think they almost in a weird way, at least back then, I feel like they tried to piss you off a little bit. They tried to get you uncomfortable and then talk to you and see how you are. It’s probably too rigorous of a job interview.”

None of that excuses acting inappropriately, but would it surprise anyone if, in an era of scripted talking points for face-to-face interviews with teams, the process has been engineered to apply stress under circumstances where the players don’t think anyone is paying attention?

The lesson for every other player who will attend every future Scouting Combine is clear: You need to be “on” for the full time there, and you need to assume that everything you do is being watched closely and carefully.

23 responses to “Did Reuben Foster altercation result from an effort to get under players’ skin?

  1. You have to call into question any event the NFL runs. There are two things you can bet on. The first is that the NFL will make money on it and the second is that someone will get screwed.

  2. Should not need to be “on” to act like an adult , not a spoiled child . Winston is wrong to think the combine is too tough of an interview . If a player can’t handle the stress of the combine doubt very highly they will be able to handle the stress of being an NFL player .

  3. Great job on the pic! Big Nurse, just perfect. The allusion to the combine as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest scores serious points as well. Nicely done!

  4. I was my normal ten minutes early to an interview. The company was running behind 30-45 minutes. This is how I should have reacted instead of calmly waiting for my opportunity.

    Now I know for next time.

  5. In a case like this you should ALWAYS blame the hospital worker. Without exception hospital workers are a bunch of no-goodniks seizing upon any and every opportunity to “piss off” these mentally stable and emotionally sound unspoiled and unpampered level-headed choirboys coming into the NFL.

  6. Would take more than this for me to drop him. Best player in this draft and should be Cleveland’s pick if they’re smart, and in 3 years, everyone is going to look back and say wow, why didn’t I see that. Kind of player that gives a defense an identity.

  7. C’mon Foster, you were about to get paid. Now you just gave up mad money for some bullcrap. Dude you’ll learn.

  8. A planned stress exercise? I doubt it.

    Where the NFL is concerned, I try not to chalk anything up to malice if something can be explained by simple incompetence. The track record speaks for itself.

    As for Foster, if he did “fail” the exam, that might drop him down into the draft range of competent professional organizations. If that’s the case, he won big-time.

  9. I remember when I was going in for a job interview to pay me millions… they were late getting to me, so I got in the secretary’s face and got myself thrown out of the interview.

    Oh wait, no I didn’t. What a clown…more details need to emerge on this. Unless the worker actively tried to provoke Reuben, how do you let someone get under your skin when this is the most important job interview of your life? Do something dumbe to go undrafted and you’re flipping burgers the rest of your life. Ace it, and you’re a top 10 pick and become a multi-millionaire.

  10. Why are some thinking he gave away millions by getting angry? He’s a MLB ..So I guess a player as big and fast and talented as him get bad points for being mean and aggressive? He just jumped two spots to a top 5 pick.

  11. Cry me a river you big baby! It’s called real life…..welcome! Wait until you have to go to the DMV or to court to show the judge your insurance card after you get pulled over And accidentally left it in your wallet at home. Entitlement generation just keeps making gen x look better and better every day. Thank You.

  12. Reminds me of the local incident where a public hospital medical hyperbaric chamber waiting list was thrown out to push professional football players hurt during the weekend to the front of the line ahead of other patients who had been waiting for weeks. I guess every player starts expecting to be treated like nobility and not wait like the rest of us peons even before they are drafted.

  13. I once took a friend to hospital after she got hit by a car. Everyone in the hospital came urgently to see her – and by everyone I mean the girl with the insurance billing cart and the girl with the bill cart alone. They took an X-ray then actually tried to discharge her without cleaning her wounds. Pretty clear their mission wasn’t care it was collecting billing info.

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