On March 22, the coaches and General Managers convening in Arizona for the league meetings will have the opportunity to watch a surprisingly long list of former players run, jump, and otherwise do the things that coaches and General Managers want to see football players do at the first ever Veteran Combine.
On the surface, it seems like a waste of time. With 2,880 total roster spots available in the offseason and each team having the ability at any time to bring in an unemployed player for a closer look (as the Eagles did with Tim Tebow on Monday), why would any of the former players who show up on Sunday think they’ll be getting a shot at a 90-man roster in March — much less a 53-man roster in September?
Regardless of whether they should or shouldn’t, they do. And perhaps going through the process of one last tryout (and one last rejection) will help them move forward with their post-football lives.
Too many former NFL players believe they still can play. In most cases, they’re the last ones to realize that it’s over. It’s not unreasonable; the supreme confidence that allowed them to get to the highest level of the sport doesn’t disappear when their physical skills diminish.
They need a way to come to grips with their new reality. While some may still think they belong in the NFL even after an offer doesn’t come their way following Sunday’s workout, there’s a good chance many will understand their time in the NFL has ended. If that helps former players transition to life after football, the process will be anything but a waste of time.