NFL Quietly Removes Spouse-Dragging From Rookie Combine

But that was my best event

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana–NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a relatively low key press conference today to address this year’s rookie combine.  Among the issues Goodell spoke about was the added television coverage, the increase in fan attendance and the discontinuation of the spouse-dragging event.

Long a fan favorite, spouse dragging–or the 20-yard drag–measures a prospective draftee’s ability to pull a female companion or friend’s body weight by gripping the ankle and dragging her or him through a series of obstacles over a 20-yard course.  Spouse dragging partners are encouraged to lie completely motionless during the event, but over the years several of them have been accused of aiding their partners.

“Vince Wilfork holds the record in the 20-yard drag,” NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said of the New England Patriots lineman, “And if you’ve ever seen his wife, you start to wonder if he had a little help.  Don’t get me wrong, Vince is a strong guy, but it’s hard to believe anyone is that strong.”

Goodell said that uncertainty played a large role in leading him to ultimately drop the event.  But there were other factors, as well.

“Last year Michael Sam competed with his spouse, and he was immediately at a disadvantage,” Goodell explained, “I feel like his slow drag time was a factor in him falling to the later rounds of the draft.”

Still, several draft experts have come out in support of the 20-yard drag.  Dallas Cowboys Assistant Director of Pro Scouting Judd Garrett said the event can give teams a reliable measure of how a player will react in high pressure situations both on and off the field.

“When (former Baltimore Ravens running back) Ray Rice was at the combine, he was near the top in the drag,” said Garrett, “And that translated extremely well to his play on Sundays, as well as Saturday nights.”

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