Disclaimer: This post isn’t necessarily about football. If you’re “not interested in your (my) life story” or my experiences at the Senior Bowl, turn back now.
This series will detail my experience with the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl. If you would like to read from the beginning this is where it started and this was the the second and this was after the first day was finished.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at the Senior Bowl and one thing I learned, was that I was a little ambitious in the daily writing goals I set for myself. Which is why I’m writing my day two wrap up, five days after it actually wrapped up.
Day one was a whirlwind that started with player weigh-ins in the morning and didn’t stop until the early evening. Day two was a little more laid back, the North Team practice was slated to begin at 12:30 PM, which allowed me to catch up on a little sleep. By 9 AM I was in my rental car and driving to the Renaissance hotel (which is the hub of Senior Bowl activity) mostly because I didn’t pick up a roster sheet that showed jersey numbers and since my handwritten notes just included jersey numbers, writing about the players was proving to be challenging without that sheet.
I then spent the rest of my morning occupying a corner booth writing as much as I possibly could before realizing I needed to get over to Ladd-Peebles for practice. Once there I met up again with Zach Hicks, some of the guys from Arrowhead Pride and Brad Kelly. I didn’t question Hicks on how this group of friends came to be, but they were good guys. On day one I didn’t spend much time doing anything other than watching practice, which makes sense, that’s why I was there. But between the lack of sleep and the general newness of everything I didn’t really stop to take in everything that was happening around me. So when I took that chance on the second day of practice I noticed some pretty cool stuff.
Mike Tomlin on the right.
Less than 90 feet away Bill Belichick and Nick Saban casually talking as old friends tend to do.
Once practice was over those with credentials were allowed onto the field to interview the players. I mostly walked around listening to the questions that other reporters were asking. I didn’t have a burning desire to talk to anyone who was accessible to me. I had a chance to talk to Jordan Love the day before and Justin Herbert was busy with one of a few TV network cameras pointed at his face, so I just sat back and tried to get a feel for different prospects. Could I have asked an offensive linemen what blocking concepts he prefers? Sure, but he would have said something about being good in both gap and zone schemes. Instead I just wanted to watch.
I guess I should go back and mention the process of getting onto the field after practice was over. It wasn’t a highly organized affair, a bunch of football nerds with big round necklaces lined up at the corner of one end zone and waited for one of the security guards to let us all in. The security guard that happened to let us in that night was in her early 20’s, maybe 5’5” and all of 120-pounds. Controlling the flow of traffic isn’t a job meant for one person, unless that person happens to start at tackle for either team, and those guys are a little busy.
So the young woman was checking everyone’s credentials, she stopped someone and he began digging in his shirt in order to pull his credential out to show it to her. While she was busy doing her job, in walks none other than NFL super-agent Drew Rosenhaus. The security guard barks at Rosenhaus “Hey I need to see your credential!” Rosenhaus slows down, whips out his wallet and says “I’m an agent, Jim (Nagy) doesn’t give us credentials, we don’t need them.” At this point the girl was trying to keep an eye on the first guy, Rosenhaus and the huge flow of people. Push came to shove and Rosenhause just kept walking.
One agent on the field wouldn’t have been a problem but when the other agents saw ole Drew on the field, they weren’t going to be denied access to their players if Rosenhause wasn’t. What followed was a group of uncredentialed, nicely dressed men ignoring the demands of a Senior Bowl security guard, who was truly doing everything she could to do her job well. As I passed, I held my credential up for her to see, she was on her radio explaining that she was trying to stop people but there was nothing she could do, there were just too many people flooding the field.
So as I was standing there watching these interviews take place, listening intently to a few, a team of security guards came on to the field and started removing anyone who couldn’t produce a badge. After five or so minutes the field looked much more empty than before but I still saw Rosenhaus, talking to one of his guys.
Less than 30 seconds after this picture was taken I saw something I almost didn’t believe. I witnessed Drew Rosenhaus be kicked off of the field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium by a team of security guards.
As he was leaving he said “It’s fine. I’m done here anyway.” before jogging off the field with a reporter chasing behind trying to ask him questions. Drew Rosenhaus didn’t have time to answer questions.
After the interview period had ended I headed back to the Renaissance upstairs lobby to write. I sat near a couple of scouts (not Colts scouts, sorry) while they interviewed prospects, I didn’t really listen but the majority of what I heard during similar conversations were just scouts trying to get or confirm background information, arrests, drug usage, old arrests, that sort of thing. Honestly it wasn’t super interesting. Around 9 PM the lobby traffic had slowed and the crowds had died down. I was still there staring into my laptop screen, a day full of water and coffee was catching up to me and I went to look for a bathroom. As I was returning to my seat in the corner in the room I heard a familiar voice.
That’s when I saw none other than Bill Polian doing an interview with Sirius XM’s NFL Radio. I decided, since when else was I going to get to interview Bill Polian, I was going to do whatever it took to ask the hall of fame general manager a few questions.
This would remain the only time all week I had to compose myself before striking up a conversation with anyone. I’ve never really been star-struck before but Bill Polian did it for me. After a few deep breaths and a quick message to the Stampede Blue instant messenger thread for ideas on what to ask the guy, I waited for his interview with Sirius XM to end and Bill Polian graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions. In case you missed it and you want to take a look, here’s the Polian interview article.
After I came down from the high of talking to the man responsible for assembling all of those great Colts teams, I wrote more and then hopped in my car to head back to my hotel to get ready for day three. Little did I know that day three would be one I won’t forget.