NFL Scouting Combine will be at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2009 and 2010
INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL Scouting Combine will move to Lucas Oil Stadium beginning next year and will be there again in 2010.
If Jeff Foster has his way, it will be there after that, too.
Foster, the president of National Football Scouting – the organization that runs the combine – said because of the relationship between the event's organizers and the city of Indianapolis, his preference is the combine will remain there long term.
"I would hope so," Foster said during the combine, which began last week and will conclude its final year in the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis on Tuesday. "The partners here have been fantastic. We are here as an organization now."
Foster noted that National Football Scouting had moved its organization to Indianapolis a year and a half ago.
"I would probably be in trouble at home if we tried to move again," he said.
Foster said the sides agreed to a two-year deal because of the newness of Lucas Oil Stadium, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2008 NFL season.
The combine has been held in Indianapolis since 1987.
"I don't think we've gone into the conversations about elsewhere," Foster said. "The idea was because we were moving into a new venue, we would do a short-term deal, a two-year deal. Although, when we say 'short-term,' it's longer than most of the deals we've done for the last 22 here. The partners we use in the city, the SCorp., and the different partners that we have, we've all been so comfortable in our relationships here that going beyond that is really a scheduling issue. It's a scheduling issue for everybody involved, starting with the NFL's master schedule and trying to find time.
"The idea behind doing 2009 and 2010 is in 2009 we get a real feel for the new venue and then in 2010 we can hopefully perfect and tweak any operational issues we have in the new venue."
The new convention center is scheduled to open in 2011, Foster said.
"At that point, we wanted to leave it open for discussion of whether we will use both venues or just maintain everything in Lucas Oil Stadium," Foster said.
The move to Lucas Oil Stadium should be a benefit, Foster said, because it "offers a larger space for us, primarily in the meeting space."
"The goal with Lucas Oil Stadium is to use the facility for all phases of the event, whether it's the medical phases or the workout phases," Foster said. "The interviews will probably still be at our headquarter hotel because it's built well for that."
Foster said National Football Scouting is working with Clarion Health Partners to use "exclusively mobile units" in the future, which would enable athletes to not have to go to the hospital for the medical-testing portion of the combine. Colts President Bill Polian and other team executives said this weekend they believe the medical testing the most important element of the combine.
Some athletes go to the hospital during the combine two-to-three times, Foster said.
The combine, which officially began in 1984, has increased in notoriety in recent seasons, growing from an event covered by a handful of media members. This year, nearly 500 media credentials were issued and the event was covered live on the NFL Network.
About 1,900 NFL personnel attended this year's combine, including about 700 scouts.
"I think in terms of this event, it's just a natural segue from the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl to the draft," Foster said. "It's just a natural event. I think the event has worked hard to become more media friendly. The NFL communications department has done an excellent job in helping us as an event and in communicating with the (NFL's) Competition Committee to open it up and make it more media friendly."
National Football Scouting had discussions with five cities before moving its operations to Indianapolis, Foster said.
"The other city that was a finalist was Kansas City," Foster said. "There are certain parameters that we try to work within. We wanted a city that was centrally located so that all teams had access to it and it was easier to bring athletes. We didn't want to be on one coast or the other. Obviously there needs to be an indoor facility. The nice thing about Indianapolis is they have all those things plus they have an area where you can take a cab to and then walk the rest of the time.
"I think we had somewhere around the neighborhood of, just with club personnel, 10,000-11,000 room nights during the seven days that we're here. For that many people to be able to walk centrally to one area for all facilities was certainly a benefit."
MORE MEASURABLES: Virginia defensive end Chris Long, a projected Top 5 overall selection, ran a 4.75-second 40-yard dash on Monday, the seventh-fastest time among defensive linemen at the combine.
End Quentin Groves of Auburn was the fastest defensive lineman at 4.57, followed by end Shawn Crable of Michigan at 4.64, end Vernon Gholston of Ohio State at 4.67, end Chris Ellis of Virginia Tech at 4.71 and end Curtis Gatewood of Vanderbilt at 4.74.
The Top 5 linebackers in the 40-yard dash were Gary Guyton of Georgia Tech at 4.47, Wesley Woodward of Kentucky at 4.51, Jerod Mayo of Tennessee at 4.54, Stanford Keglar of Purdue at 4.58 and Jonathan Goff of Vanderbilt at 4.63.
In the bench press, Keglar led all linebackers with 29 repetitions at 225 pounds, followed by Goff at 28, Spencer Larsen of Arizona at 27, Durell Mapp of North Carolina at 27 and Jeremy Leman of Illinois at 26.
Cornerbacks and safeties are scheduled to work out Tuesday.