Senior Bowl Blog – Chapter 3

From Mobile, Alabama

The Senior Bowl was a ghost town on Thursday. At the game’s headquarters the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel, the lobby was about 75 percent less crowded than the first part of the week. Attendance at Thursday’s practices was down about the same amount.

Most of the NFL’s 32 coaching and personnel staffs escaped Mobile Wednesday night, or Thursday morning. Chiefs head coach Todd Haley got back to Kansas City early enough Wednesday evening to see one of his daughters in a gymnastics meet.

NFL teams get tape of all the practices during the week and the Senior Bowl game. Given that, why do they come at all and then blow out before the week is done? “Good question,” answered Jets and former Chiefs personnel maven Terry Bradway. “It’s a busy time of the year in scouting, so time is at a premium.”

Some teams were still there on Thursday. Bradway’s flight back to New Jersey was cancelled because of the snowstorm that hit the east coast. But the personnel staffs for the Packers, Browns and Saints were still there, sitting together in the stands and comparing notes.

Given the fact the Saints won last year’s Super Bowl and the Packers are playing in next week’s championship game, maybe some other teams should take notice.


Take a look at the picture above. That’s Alabama QB Greg McElroy and he’s not just posing for a picture, he’s being taped for an interview that will be shown Friday night at some sort of Crimson Tide booster club.

It is quite an amazing scene to watch McElroy as he rolls through the hotel lobby and deals with fans after practices. Despite the fact he’s probably only a mid-level draft prospect, McElroy is easily the most popular player on the South team.

After Thursday’s practice he must have posed for two dozen different people that were carrying small personal cameras. He did that interview, taped another two interviews for Alabama TV stations and then faced about a half-dozen print journalists. He walked off the field with some little Tide fan chasing him for another autograph. The good thing about McElroy is he stopped and signed, even talked to the tyke.


One of the fun dances to watch during Senior Bowl week are the agents, those that have clients in the game and those that do not. By now, all the top players have signed for representation, and before April’s draft one or two of them will change their minds.

But agents don’t trust other agents, so they’ll set up hospitality rooms in downtown hotels for their clients, where they are encouraged to spend whatever free time they might have. Agents have assistants and runners at all the practices and they keep an eye on who approaches the players after practices.

Still working practice on Thursday morning was Drew Rosenhaus. It was hard to tell if he was trolling for potential clients or protecting his commitments. Amazingly, he didn’t want to talk about it. “Nice day isn’t it?” Rosenhaus said as he walked away from a question.


Hank Stram used to call it the Smush. It’s not pronounced S-mush, but S-moosh.

The Mentor always wanted to know if there was any Smush, meaning free stuff, whether it was clothing, equipment, electronics, or just donuts for the morning coffee.

Players in the Senior Bowl score plenty of Smush during the week of the game. First, the game’s biggest sponsor is Under Armour, which produces all sorts of athletic clothing. So the players score sweat suits, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, hats, visors, shoes and assorted other gear.

That went down early in the week. Then, they had to go back to get gear for the game. The players brought their college helmets, shoulder pads and whatever else they wear in games. Under Armour provides the rest of the uniform, right now to spikes, gloves, sweatbands, even jock straps.

“We were in line the other day for our equipment and guys were breezing through pretty quickly,” said TE D.J. Williams (Arkansas). “About five minutes. But I was behind Titus and that was like 20-25 minutes before he was done.”

Titus is WR Titus Young (Boise State) and he was standing in the back of the room as Williams told the story. They were speaking to the media, a chore they handle after they’ve had dinner. Most of the players walk in wearing sweats, t-shirts and other Senior Bowl clothing.

Young walked in wearing a pair of pressed jeans and a purple polo-type shirt. Titus likes to look good.

“He’s there getting his equipment and he needed two pairs of gloves because he wants to wear different colors and he wanted this kind of towel and different wristbands,” said Williams.

Young smiled and shrugged his shoulder afterwards. “It’s important to look good,” he said.


FB Owen Marecic (Stanford) and S Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) were very busy on Tuesday. They took part in practice that morning with the North team in Mobile and then headed to the airport.

Marecic flew to Louisville, where he was presented the Paul Hornung Award. It was created last year to honor the most versatile player in college football. Marecic played both fullback and linebacker for Stanford. That’s him above standing with Hornung.

Carter flew to Atlanta where he was the winner of the Wooden Citizenship Cup that was presented during ceremonies that evening. The Wooden Cup is named in honor of the late John Wooden and recognizes those athletes whose character represents the highest and best in sport and make the greatest difference in the lives of others.

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