10 Ridiculous Questions Teams Have Asked NFL Prospects at the Combine
Prior to this year’s NFL Combine, the league sent a memo reminding teams that they must adhere to state and federal employment laws when conducting interviews with NFL prospects.
Last year, teams skirted the line of permissible questioning when they veered into sexuality in the wake of the Manti Te’o Catfishing incident. Current Raiders tight end Nick Kasa revealed last year that teams asked him if he like girls, had a girlfriend, a wife, etc., as a roundabout way of asking if he’s gay. Michael Sam‘s pre-Combine announcement that he is gay brought the issue of invasive questioning back to the forefront.
“It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process,” NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said in a statement last year.
“Teams are going to try to fluster you,” Devin McCourty told The MMQB. “It’s all about how you react.”
Teams use interviewing time at the NFL combine differently. Some border on invasive and illegal tactics, while others, such as the Cleveland Browns, ask about office supplies. Perhaps this year marks a departure from the invasive to the goofy.
Below, I’ve collected some of the ridiculous questions teams posed to prospects this year and in years past.
Will Lindsey Duke be there for dinner?
Outgoing UCF quarterback Blake Bortles told Dan Patrick on Wednesday that a couple of teams wanted to know if he had a girlfriend. He does: the Internet-famous Lindsey Duke, whom Bortles’ UCF head coach hilariously said “Deserves 6 millions Googles.”
Bortles added that during an awkward exchange, one team rep asked, ”If we come to town, will she be there for dinner?”
Bortles suggested they wanted to see how he would react. He’s probably wrong.
My favorite @NFL Scouting Combine question from one team to prospects: “Which team do you pick in Madden and why?”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2014
Actually this a totally legit question: Does the player try to steer a middle-of-the-pack team to greatness, or use a juggernaut to pummel bottom feeders? I want the guy willing to take the Jaguars head-to-head with the Seahawks.
How many different things can you think of that you can do with a paper clip?
I don’t know, nine?!
Your mom was a prostitute?
In 2010, former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked Dez Bryant about his family life and upbringing until he veered a bit off course. When Ireland asked Bryant what his father did for a living, the exchange allegedly went like this:
“My dad was a pimp.”
“What did your mom do [for a living]?”
“She worked for my dad.”
“Your mom was a prostitute?”
“No, she wasn’t a prostitute.”
What animal would you describe yourself as?
Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood fielded this one (this year) and took his time to answer.
“I never even thought about it before. I sat there for at least two minutes thinking like, ‘OK, I’m dependable. I’m a silent killer.’ So the closest thing I thought of was a snake, a python. Nobody hears it coming but when it comes it’s going to kill you.”
What’s your drug of choice on your campus?
This one actually came from NFL Network’s Steve Mariucci during a sample interview last year with Geno Smith in February 2013. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com said Smith seemed stunned, then answered that he didn’t know.
The correct answer of course would have been, “Sir, I am high on life.”
Do you wear a g-string or a jock strap when you play?
This one fell on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in 2010. When NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock later asked for McCoy’s answer to the question, McCoy had nothing but a stunned expression.
For reference, lucky gold thongs (and perhaps g-strings) only work in baseball.
Do you feel entitled [as a white running back], or like a poster child for white running backs?
I’m paraphrasing the question one team posed to current Vikings running back Toby Gerhart. “No, I’m just out there playing ball. I don’t think about that,” Gerhart explained that he answered. “I didn’t really know what to say.”
What is your goal for a family going forward? Are you looking to marry young or stay single?
Former NFL QB and now Bleacher Report analyst Chris Simms said that when he interviewed at the Combine, numerous teams wanted to know about his plans for making a family. The question might be a passive way of asking about sexuality, or, an attempt to gauge whether the guy is focused on settling down or partying, as Simms suggests.
In other words, are you a Tom Brady or a Matt Leinart?
If you could pick one superpower?
Devin McCourty told The MMQB that teams have confronted players with the “superpower” question.
There’s really no right or wrong answer here, though the rightest answer is the ability to savagely hit quarterbacks with without going helmet to helmet.