We noted during the Scouting Combine that Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe was both the strongest player on the bench press and shockingly nimble for a man who weighs 346 pounds. It turns out that talk of Poe’s impressive performance reached the Oval Office.
President Barack Obama was the guest on Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report podcast, and he mentioned the Combine, and specifically Poe’s freakish athletic ability. Although Obama didn’t recall Poe’s name off the top of his head, he made a reference to what he had heard about Poe’s shocking combination of impressive size, fast 40-yard dash time and great vertical jump.
“They just had the Combine and they were talking about some guy who’s like 340 and runs a 4.8 and has a three-foot vertical,” Obama said. “I don’t know what you do if a guy like that hits you.”
Obama’s comments came within the context of a question about concussions in football, and he said he doesn’t know the answer to how the game can get safer while bigger, faster and stronger players are involved in increasingly violent collisions. Obama noted that even as the NFL attempts to make the game safer, it’s tough to keep pace with the advances that the athletes themselves are making.
“Part of the problem is just the speed and the size of these guys now,” Obama said. “You watch the old tapes from the 50s and 60s? I mean they look like they’re going in slow motion.”
And as Poe’s 346-pound frame rumbles down the field in the 40-yard dash, he looks like he’s going in fast forward. It’s not very often that a Scouting Combine performance is good enough for the president to notice.