Anyone (yes, anyone) can try out for the NFL

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Maybe the Regional Scouting Combines will indeed begin to look like American Idol.  The first wave of annual episodes, that is.

A Twitter debate between NFL spokesman Greg Aiello and yours truly fleshed out an amazing fact regarding the talent search process the league launched in 2012.

According to Aiello, the Regional Scouting Combines are an open tryout.  As in wide open.  As in anyone can try out.

Well, not anyone.  The usual barriers apply to kids still in college.  But if you are at least three years out of high school, you’re old enough to try out.

It also costs $275.  But that’s a lot cheaper than any fantasy camp out there.

Aiello’s comments came in response to our most recent item on the Lauren Silberman tryout, where we call out NFL.com for calling out Silberman for her publicity-stunt tryout but not calling out the league for allowing it, and for giving it publicity.

According to Aiello, the league has no standards or thresholds or experience requirements.  If you have the $275 and if you are eligible from an age standpoint, you can try out for the NFL.

Of course, that’s not how the NFL previously has explained the process.  In the November 18, 2012 press release announcing the dates of the Regional Combines, the league said that the events are “conducted specifically for” the following:  players eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft but not attending the National Scouting Combine; players with college playing experience who want to gauge their pro potential; players with some pro playing experience but who have been out of the game for a period of time.

That would exclude Lauren Silberman.  Who never played football.  At any level.

According to Aiello, however, the rules apparently have changed.  No experience or skill or ability or anything is required.

So those of you who have $275 and who think you have the skills to play in the NFL or who want some free publicity or who simply prefer losing your money there instead of at the blackjack tables, go to One Buc Place in Tampa on March 9, Halas Hall on March 10, the Falcons facility on March 16 and 17, the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Seattle on March 23-24, or the Under Armour Performance Center in Baltimore on March 23-24.

Or go to more than one.  Or go to all of them.

And tell ’em Greg Aiello sent you.  Or PFT.  Or both.