The weird NFL combine drill some players are being asked to perform
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL scouting combine most certainly can be an eye-opening experience for the draft prospects who are being asked to do everything under the sun to prove their worth.
But a staring contest?
Yes, that apparently has been added to the list of drills that at least one team is performing (not on NFL Network, sadly) to test ... well, we're not sure exactly what.
Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimious St. Brown said he was asked "how long I could keep my eyes open."
Said Brown of the bizarre interview request, "They just timed me. I just kept my eyes open as long as I could. I think I did like 15 seconds."
Fifteen? Feels like a combine loser to us.
We checked around with other players and figured out which team was the culprit -- it appears to be the Seattle Seahawks.
Texas punter Michael Dickson said he too was asked to stare them down and confirmed it was the Seahawks who made the request. Amazingly, his first attempt was worse than St. Brown.
"The first time was terrible," Dickson said. "I only lasted 14 seconds.
"I had to see how long I could stare without blinking," Dickson said. "I had a couple of attempts, tried new techniques, looking away from the light, tried to block any wind that might come into the eyes. That was a weird process.
"By my third attempt, I figured out a technique to look around the room just to get your eyes a little watery, I guess," he said.
That allowed Dickson to improve on his paltry 14 number. His draft stock is back on the rise, kids.
So why a darned staring contest? Who knows? Teams always are trying to throw players -- who have been coached up in their combine prep to handle almost anything expected -- curveballs any way they can.
We asked Georgia WR Javon Wims if he had a) met with the Seahawks or b) been asked to stare anyone down. Sadly, they were both negative. But Wims appeared eager to test himself in this way.
"My staring game is on point," Wims said. "I can go however long (I need). I am like a statue."
Teams get 60 formal interviews with players at the combine. The meetings last a tidy 15 minutes. Horns blow at the start and finish of the meetings. There isn't a lot of time to mess around. So clearly the Seahawks are willing to commit at least a minute of this time with some players to finding out which one have strong eyes -- and maybe strong wills.
"It's harder than it sounds," Dickson said.
Two years ago at the combine, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said his team places an extraordinary value in the interviews they conduct in Indy.
"I think it's extraordinarily important, because we are what their attitude is and who they are," Carroll said in 2016. "So we've tried to find guys that have a sense about them that they can overcome whatever the odds are, and that they're going to hang through anything. And that is demonstrated in the passion that they bring to their pursuits too. It's exactly what we are looking for."
Note to draft prospects: If you want to be a Seahawk, work on your staring game. It might be the key difference in winning them over.
• Eric Edholm is a senior editor for Pro Football Weekly. For more on the NFL, visit profootballweekly.com and follow Eric on Twitter @Eric_Edholm or @PFWeekly.