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Chargers' Merriman details combine's real challenge

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/don_banks/02/23/shawne/">SI.com</a>

    By Don Banks

    <img width="200" height="254" align="left" alt="Shawne Merriman" title="Shawne Merriman" src="http://www.bolttalk.com/images/merriman06.jpg" />When the NFL says "jump" at its annual pre-draft scouting combine, your average collegiate prospect says, "How high?'' But that's just part of the four-day grind that would-be NFL players get put through in Indianapolis, and by far the more challenging portions of the proceedings have next to nothing to do with football.

    "I just remember that crazy psychological test,'' said Chargers linebacker <strong>Shawne Merriman</strong>, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005, who went 12th overall in last year's draft. "There's a lot of stuff they throw at you at the combine that you just can't prepare for.

    "On one test, they asked me if I was to jump off a building, would I jump off a building 50 feet high or 300 feet high? My other two choices were to not jump off the building or none of the above. I remember thinking, If I say I'd jump off a building, this team is definitely not going to draft me.' I guess they were really trying to find out about my judgment and see what my mental stability level was.''

    The combine is definitely a curious rite of passage. It's an aid to some prospects' chances, a bane to others', and in many ways it's about as similar to an actual game of football as putt-putt golf is to the final round at the Masters. Most prospects run, jump, catch, throw, kick, lift and get put through various drill work. But mostly they talk. And talk, and talk. To coaches, general managers and personnel men around the league. A battery of medical exams take up some of the time, as do the psychological and intelligence/cognitive tests.

    "The mental exhaustion you go through is the toughest part,'' said Merriman, whose stature as a high first-round pick was solidified at the 2005 combine. "You have 32 teams who want to find out who you are. And you have to go in there and meet with each one of them, and show them the same interest level and convince them you want to be a part of their team. You do that 32 times, and it can be difficult.''

    Merriman was fortunate in that he has an open, accommodating personality and was blessed with the gift of gab. The combine, for him, was a long, often tedious, four-day job interview, and the physical part of the process was the least of his worries.

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