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March 6, 2017

NFL Combine

Welcome, Husker Nation, to the people's show, the Carriker Chronicles where each and every day I'm taking the pulse of Husker Nation. And if you're jealous of my wonderful attire today – don't be, it's really not that fancy – today is combine day on the Carriker Chronicles and this is the exact shirt I wore during my NFL combine. No, I was not Adam Carriker on that day. I was the slab of meat known as DL 16. But let's talk about this year's NFL combine, shall we?

And I want to start out with Cethan Carter who performed his on-field drills this past Saturday. He weighed in at 6'3" 241 pounds. He did 19 reps on the 225-lb bench press. He ran a 4.69 40-yard dash, and that was the 9th-fastest time of the 19 tight ends invited to this year's combine. Now, it's interesting because of the 14 fastest 40-yard dash times ever performed by the tight ends in the NFL combine, 7 of them were this year. And of the 7 fastest 40-yard dash times ever by tight ends, 5 of them were performed this past weekend. And it's interesting as well because from the years 2006 to 2016, not a single tight end broad jumped 11 feet. This past Saturday, three of them broad jumped 11 feet or more. And it just shows you the science behind developing better and better athletes is getting better and better. But I couldn't help but chuckle as this information is coming out from the combine because when you're training for the combine – it reminded me of a story – when you're training for the combine, you train 2 days a week, Monday thru Friday and then Saturday morning. So you really only get Sundays off and you have 11 workouts in between. It can get grueling as time goes on as you get ready for this combine ... I don't know, the guy who was training me, he shall remain nameless – he must have been tired this particular day cuz he starts talking about how "Man, if you're fast, you're just fast. And if you're big, you're just big. And if you're strong, you're just strong." And I'm sitting there like "I'm getting ready for the workout of my life, the NFL combine, what is this?!" So I actually – I said something – I go "Man, I don't know about you but I'm sure motivated to work out now." And he got embarrassed, he got a little red in the face and I think he kind of realized what he had said but it just made me chuckle because when two guys hit on an NFL field, it's like a mini car wreck, that's what it's been described as and that's exactly what it's like and these athletes are just getting bigger, faster, stronger and more impressive.

I do want to talk about some of the other highlights from the combine this year, and let's talk about John Ross. Wide receiver from Washington who broke the all-time 40-yard dash record at the combine this past weekend running a 4.22 40-yard dash. He broke the record set by Chris Johnson in 2008 a 4.24. And when Johnson broke the record, he broke a record that stood for quite a while. Some other highlights from the combine this past weekend: Ruben Foster, considered the best inside linebacker out of Alabama, the best inside linebacker in this year's draft. Widely presumed to be a top-10 pick was sent home from the combine after an altercation with a worker at the hospital. He has since sent a letter to all 32 teams apologizing for the "miscommunication" and I'm not here to condone whatever happened. It was just a "miscommunication altercation" is all it was described as. But I will tell you this: the hospital is a frustrating part. The combine itself is just not fun, I'm not going to lie to you. Every job has parts to it that are fun. The combine (hits mic with hand), about broke my mic, the combine is not one of those jobs that is fun. And so the hospital – I've heard of guys getting stuck at the hospital for 6, 7, 8, 9 hours! And that was pretty commonplace! And, so when I was there for five hours and got sent back to the hotel, I was pretty happy! I mean they were x-raying body parts I'd injured – body parts I'd never injured. They were taking blood, poking, prodding, you know, teams are doing their due diligence. I'm walking through the hallway when I get back to the hotel and the Miami Dolphins doctor grabs me, starts yanking on my left elbow. Never had an issue in my life with the left elbow – never had one since! He sends me back to the hospital clear across town, and by now everyone to do with the NFL combine is gone. So I'm at the end of the list at the end of the day behind everybody, so I had to wait there four hours! I was there about 9 hours that day, and the last part was four hours for a ten-second x-ray on a body part I've never had an issue with. So I understand the frustration. I don't condone whatever it is that happened that got him sent home. I've never heard of something like that happen at the combine, but it is a frustrating part.

But let's talk about Nate Gerry. Cuz he's performing his on-field drills today. Now he weighed in at 6'2", 218 pounds. From what I understand he looked jacked. (Adam flexes and admires his own large bicep) Husker Power Baby! But he is right now ranked the 18th-best safety heading into this year's NFL draft, and that's going to change plus or minus we know going forward based on what happens. And I've never talked to anyone about what he's projected to run 40-yard dash wise, I just know – my eyeball test – ya know a fancy way to say "my opinion". I'm gonna guess – he's pretty fast, I'm gonna guess he's gonna run a 4.5, maybe a little bit faster, I don't know, we'll see. Let's keep an eye out and let's show our former Husker brother some love as he chases his NFL dream in Indianapolis.

Now, if you are curious what I did at my NFL combine, I'll give ya some brief stats. I weighed, I was 6'6", I weighed in at 296 and I ran a 4.92 40-yard dash. Not going to lie to you, 4.92 for a guy who's almost 300 pounds isn't bad, but I was a little disappointed in that. And I did 33 reps on the bench press which was okay. And then I did the 20-yard shuttle, a 4.1. These are the drills that just stick out in my mind, and I fell down when I did it, but I still ran a 4.1. Now, on my pro day I re-did the 40 and I weighed in at 292. I was still 6'6", but I ran a 4.72! When I was hoping for 4.8 or below, so that's more along the lines of what I was hoping for. I did not re-do the bench press, but a couple years ago some people may know, I did not re-do the 225 pound bench press – I wanna say two years ago now. And I put a video out, and I did it 40 times! What was cool about that was I've had two major shoulder surgeries in my life, and I am stronger than I was before I had those shoulder surgeries. So it shows when you get banged up, dinged up, have surgeries done, you can come back stronger so I was pretty proud of that. But on my Pro Day – back to my Pro Day, I did not do the 20 yard shuttle again even though I fell down. 4.1 is a really good time. I wanted to do it again but everybody told me don't do it again you don't need to, just focus on the 40. So that's kinda the stats that I did and things I did when I was coming out. Now, I'm going to be honest with you, and I kinda already alluded to this – I did not enjoy the combine really in any way shape or form. Every job has certain parts you enjoy every job has parts you don't enjoy.

The whole draft process as a whole, I enjoyed – the combine I DID NOT! If you think about it, you're up at 4, 4:30 every morning and you're doing urine tests you're doing mental tests, you're doing all these tests and you're doing it all day long. And you do it for the first three days. And the 4th day is when you do your test after these long, exhausting days of 4, 5 hours of sleep cuz you get up at 4! I slept in till 5 the day I did my on-field drills. You get up at 4, you don't get to bed until 11 or midnight. For me it was midnight every night cuz I had meetings. And the last day, after these three long days of no sleep, that's when you go on the field and do your drills. That's the way it is for everybody, I understand that. But I did not do well without the sleep. But I did enjoy some of the mental tests, I will be honest with you. I mean, there were some tests (where) maybe a coach would pull you aside in a room, like a defensive line coach, and he'd give you 20 plays. Two minutes to learn it, and then three minutes later, after you had those two minutes, he'd quiz ya on it. I enjoyed stuff like that. There was another test where you had to drop a bouncy ball from here (above head) and you had to catch it – you'd let it bounce and catch it before it would bounce off the table. And I did this repeatedly, and I couldn't get it. I was starting to get mad! And the guy that was doing it, he just started to chuckle. I go "What's so funny, dude?!" I was not handling it well. He goes "Don't feel bad. The only person I've ever seen successfully do this is Reggie Bush, since I've been doing it." So that kinda eased my pain a little bit. There was the numbers test. All this – it was such – you know people were poking, prodding you, and psychological tests all day. That's what it was all day every day for three straight days with not a lot of sleep. But like I said, I enjoyed the test. The numbers test – they would give you numbers. Like 7 or 8 numbers in a row. You'd have to repeat it and then say it backwards. So for instance they might say "4, 8, 11, 12, 14, 37, 99." And I'd have to say 4, 8, 11, 12, 14, 37, 99 and then I'd say it backwards so it would be 99, 37, 14, 12, 11, 8, 4. I hope I said that right, we'll have to check the transcript to see if I got that right or not (you did). But I enjoyed stuff like that.

But some of the other stories – so meetings. Every night – meetings--you had meetings from eight to 11 or midnight. For me it was eight to midnight. And you never knew what team you were meeting with and that was thanks to Deion Sanders cuz when he was coming out and he went to the combine, he – if a team was outside the top five picks, he wouldn't go to them. He was like "I'm not going to be there after five, I'm not going to that meeting!" So they made it so you never knew what coach, or team you were going to be talking to as you entered the room. So it was always a mystery. And a lot of these guys would try to poke you, prod you mentally. They would take your worst place from your freshman, sophomore, junior, senior year – they'd put together this 30-play role and they'd take you through it and they'd rip you apart. They wanted to see how you reacted. And you know, some of them – I've shared this story before but Jacob Burney was my D line coach in D.C. and when I found out he was my D line coach I was not thrilled. This was because of the way he was at the combine. He's got a deep voice, and he's loud. He got two inches from my face for the 15 minute meetings, they're bang bang bang bang bang bang all night. And he was yelling at me the entire time. And, now come to find out, that is kinda who he is, it's kinda his stick too. He kinda has fun with it but he wants to see how you react. So for a lot of these meetings – I'll tell you a story about Herm Edwards – for a lot of these meetings I had people in my face yelling, I had my worst plays of my career displayed and being grilled about them all. And Herm Edwards – he was the coach of the Chiefs at the time and I'm in the meeting. He pulls up the tape, first play I recognize. And I must have started crying or something I don't know, I don't think I cried. But I could tell he felt sorry for me. He walked over to the tv, turned it off, and he goes "Adam, let's talk about something else." And I just, I'd had enough at that point. But he – I've always been a fan of him since then, he was pretty nice to me.

But I'll tell ya another story.

So Eric Mangini had just become the coach of the Jets and he's a hard guy. He's just a hard individual. And you walk in and there's 50 people in their meeting room. And they all come up and shake your hand and introduce themselves. Who they are and what they do. And it takes 7, 8 minutes! And you've got only got like 7, 8 minutes left in the meeting. After they all did that, he goes (pointing to another person) "Who's that? What's his name? What's her name?" I was like "Oh my God, I don't remember any of them." And then he goes "Who's our GM?" Well at this point I've met so many people, it was like one of my last meetings of the night. I think I had one more meeting. In fact I'll tell ya about that meeting, and I couldn't think of anybody's name. I walked out of that meeting so depressed. Oh, and then he ran me through my worst plays, so depressed. Then I go to the Carolina Panthers. John Fox is the head coach. I walk in and it could not have been any more different. It was the most down meeting to the most uplifting meeting. They were telling jokes, they were cracking jokes, they were slapping me on the back. It was high fives, I was like "what is going on?!" I was so down to so high and then I had to go to bed. Oh my gosh.

So the NFL combine, I wish these guys good luck as they wrap up their combine endeavors and let's support our Nebraska boys. And memories! Mah-memories! Until Wednesday – oh, be sure to like me on Facebook and twitter – until Wednesday, GO BIG RED and always remember to THROW THE BONES!