The dates for the 2021 NFL Combine haven’t been set yet, but generally speaking, the nation’s top prospects gather in Indianapolis in late-February, early-March to run and jump their way into the hearts of general managers across the league.
If the NFL plans on holding the Combine during its traditional place on the calendar, then we’re about seven weeks away from the event kicking off. With COVID-19 still unleashing its fury across the country, it seems questionable — if not unlikely — that the event will take place in its usual form this year.
According to longtime NFL draft analyst Tony Pauline, there’s a chance the NFL Combine won’t happen at all.
“I’m hearing it could be pushed back a week until the March 8th timeframe,” Pauline said this week. “I’m told that it is a situation where they could, if necessary, just send the players there to do medicals only. There are rumors circulating that Dr. Allen Sills, who is the Chief Medical Officer for the NFL, is recommending that the combine be canceled altogether.”
Will the NFL Combine be canceled?
It’s important to note a few things here. We don’t know who Pauline’s sources are, and these rumors could be nothing more than a few low-level scouts hypothesizing about life in a COVID-19 reality.
The fact that the league hasn’t canceled any games this season and the Super Bowl will go off as planned (as of now) suggests they aren’t willing to pull the plug on any ‘big event’ without some underlying cause for concern. Granted, the NFL Combine isn’t a money-maker like a football Sunday or the Super Bowl, but it is one of the offseason’s biggest events (especially now that it’s on primetime television).
The bottom line is this: the virus will dictate what happens and when, including this year’s NFL Combine schedule.