For the third time in five years, an incoming rookie has disclosed that he was asked a question about his sexuality at the Scouting Combine. For the third time in five years, the NFL has publicly denounced that practice.
I spoke to Dan Quinn and I actually spoke to the coach who was involved in this matter, Commissioner Roger Goodell said in March 2016. I think the Falcons, as an organization, and Dan Quinn as a head coach, and the coach who was involved, have all taken ownership of this issue, recognized the mistake that was made, have been very forthcoming and have taken the appropriate steps to educate everyone. The coach [Marquand Manuel] and I spent probably 20 minutes on the phone talking about his learning experiences, how he can use this for a positive step and I was impressed with the way he was handling it. The team has taken on training programs within the organization which I think are all very satisfactory. So I don’t see any further steps at the league level at this point.
While that may have kept the Falcons from repeating the infraction, it’s not keeping other teams from doing the same thing. That’s likely because the consequences aren’t sufficient to deter teams from asking improper questions.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith believes teams that ask questions like this should be banned from the next Scouting Combine. While it’s an extreme example of discipline, it would be a lot more effective at deterring this type of thing than a seminar and a talking-to from the Commissioner.
Clearly, that outcome isn’t keeping other teams from asking questions that no employer should be posing to any employee.
There’s one way for that to be avoided. The Saints can sign Brees to a new contract before he has a chance to hear from other teams. Given that it’s taken this long, Brees should wait to see what a team like the Vikings or Broncos would put on the table.
If either team is thinking about offering top-of-market value to Kirk Cousins, they should at least consider a similar package for a more accomplished player like Brees, a first-ballot Hall of Famer who has missed only one game due to injury during only 12 seasons with the Saints.
If the Saints want to get a 13th season out of Brees, they may need to close the gap between whatever they’re willing to pay and whatever Brees can get elsewhere.
Bridgewater wants to show people he still has it, and that he can still be the player he once was. (He made the Pro Bowl in 2015, his second NFL season.)
I’m very eager [to get back on the field full-time], he said. But at the same time, August and September are a long way from now. It isn’t about proving to the people who counted you out or doubted you. It’s about proving to the people who believed in you.