As the 49ers organization revs up for the Combine, rookie tackle Joe Staley takes a look back at his Combine experience from a year ago. Check it out!**
My Combine experience last year was not what I had hoped it to be. I was working out down in Texas and we were doing a mock Combine the week before, which was a stupid idea, and I ended up pulling my hamstring.
I was ticked because I planned to tear it up in my workout but I really could barely walk. I didn't want to make it seem like it was too big of a deal during my medical interviews, but it did hurt. I fortunately rehabbed my hamstring and was able to run a strong 40 at my Pro Day and show what I could then, but it made for a stressful Combine experience.
I did get lucky in that I didn't have a roommate. I've heard stories about how guys get stuck with other guys who are big-time snorers and then they end up not getting any sleep. So, at least I didn't have that issue.
I still did the bench press and all of the interviews with the teams, and the interviews are stressful. I was from a small school and not a lot of people knew about me so most teams wanted to talk to me. I was talking to other guys who were at the top five in their position and they had five or six teams to talk with and I had 22 on my card. So, both nights I was going from one 15 minute interview to the next for three straight hours.
Interestingly enough, the 49ers showed zero interest in me at the Combine. I saw Coach Warhop on the street and he told me I had a good game at the Senior Bowl, but that's the only thing I heard from them.
But, interviewing with so many other teams was kind of stressful. I didn't have any character issues or incidents that were uncomfortable, but it still wears on you mentally to be drilled by so many different people and teams.
In comparison, the media interviews were easy. I was at a table, another perk of coming from a small school, so I didn't have to get up on the podium in front of everyone or anything like that.
One of the more humiliating things was the height and weight session. You feel like you are at a meat market with all of these cattle owners looking to see if they want to buy you or not. I was so self conscious. Some guys spend the day sucking down water and trying to gain a few pounds while other heavy guys are trying to drop a few pounds. I drank like 17 waters that day and tried to gain three more pounds so I could be 305. But then you get up on stage and you are trying to suck everything in so you look all skinny. It was definitely interesting.
As for my bench press, I finished with 27 reps which is about what I had expected, but it's one of the reasons I wish I had done things different.
I think if I had to do it all over again I would have stayed back at Central and worked with the trainer I had all during college instead of trying this thing down in Texas. I went down to Texas benching 28 so it's not like I got any better in that area.
I just think it's weird to go work with a trainer who doesn't really know you and yet they are supposed to get you ready for the most important workout of your life. I think it would have been smarter to work with my own trainer, but that's just me. It was good at least to get away to somewhere that you don't have any distractions and you can really just focus solely on your training. Adam Carriker was down there training with me, and I actually roomed with the kid who ended up going to the Packers as their kicker and a lineman who went later in the draft to Tampa. It was good to share in the preparation experience with those guys and fun to kind of see what they end up doing in their careers.
I am definitely happy that whole Combine and waiting for the Draft experience is over with for me. It's kind of strange because during that process it feels like everything you've done in your college football career is diminished to that one week in Indianapolis and that it becomes more of a numbers game. I know everyone says that they revert to the tape but it doesn't feel like that when you are going through something that intense. So, it was definitely stressful and a very big headache that I'm glad I'm finished with. At the same time, I'm appreciative that I had the opportunity to go through something like that because it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life. Not everyone gets this chance, and so I wish all of the guys good luck this week!
Outside of that, I hadn't been doing much at home in Michigan and I was really getting antsy to get back to California. The weather out there is so depressing and it was getting me down, but last Wednesday I came down to Florida and have been hanging out with my cousin in Daytona Beach. We went to the races all week and I got to go down into the pits. We had garage passes and so we basically got the VIP NASCAR treatment which was a lot of fun. I got introduced at the drivers meeting and got to meet Tony Stewart and I have really gotten into NASCAR since I've been down here.
One of the funnier things that happened during my trip was that I saw John Salley from the Best Damn Sports Show Period and so I went up to him and introduced myself and he ended up interviewing me for their show. They asked me how we are going to look in 2008 and I basically guaranteed we are going to be in the Super Bowl.
I'm heading to Hawaii with my family this Friday, which was my Christmas present to everyone. After that, I'll be heading back to California. I think our off-season program begins on the 17th but I want to get in early and start working!