Confusion still lingers about the NFL’s partial Scouting Combine ban

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The NFL has ping-ponged over the past few years regarding the extent of its ban on Scouting Combine attendance for players who have been involved in certain types of off-field misconduct. Last week, the issue came to a head, with the league ultimately reversing its full prohibition on attendance and officials allowing affected players to show up for physical examinations.

But that’s not the end of the confusion. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a Scouting Combine official communicated the new approach directly to the three affected players, and one of them believed based on the conversation that the players would be allowed to both take physicals and participate in the interview process. The NFL insists that the partial ban permits only participation in physicals.

Efforts continue, we’re told, to persuade the NFL to fully relent on the ban, given that it hurts the teams that need information about the prospects far more than it hurts the prospects. No team official has advanced an argument against letting the players participate; the league office, which gradually and systematically has taken more and more control of the Scouting Combine due to the content it provides for the league’s in-house TV network, steadfastly refuses to relent. As one source explained it to PFT, key league office employees have failed to return phone calls or emails regarding the matter.

The fact that the league won’t engage on the matter tends to suggest that the league knows that the ban makes no sense. And if there’s never any conversation about the subject, the league’s reasoning never will be exposed as flimsy and nonsensical.

Meanwhile, here’s hoping the 32 teams that maintain the league office begin pushing aggressively for more information about a clumsy policy driven by misguided P.R. concerns.