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NFL combine: Tim Tebow leads five oddest moments of last five years

February 22, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • Tim Tebow, shown last season, caused quite a stir at the 2010 NFL Combine.
Tim Tebow, shown last season, caused quite a stir at the 2010 NFL Combine. (Tom Szczerbowski / Getty…)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is scheduled to speak with reporters at the NFL combine on Saturday, and he figures to draw a massive crowd, likely the largest in the five years Lucas Oil Stadium has hosted the event.

It figures be a strange and awkward encounter, considering the hubbub surrounding Te'o's fake dead girlfriend. But it will be far from the only weird, uncomfortable, can't-pull-your-eyes-away scene at the combine over the past five years. Here are five more:

Tebow signs an autograph -- The crowd for Tim Tebow was huge in 2010, with hundreds of reporters crowded around the stage to hear from the Florida quarterback. Polite to a fault, Tebow did the scribes a favor by arranging their recorders before him on the lectern. Noticing this, a reporter lifted his notepad and playfully asked Tebow if he wouldn’t mind taking notes too.

Tebow smiled, took the pad, scribbled a Bible verse and an autograph on it and handed it back to the reporter, who hadn’t asked for it. Gathering autographs is strictly forbidden among reporters, and those who didn't hear the exchange thought the writer had broken the rules in a big and very public way. That triggered a wave of angry tweets between the reporter and others who were convinced that he’d crossed the line.

AWOL  Andre -- In 2009, Alabama's Andre Smith was a left tackle in the truest sense.

He left.

Considered one of the top three players at his position, Smith showed up in Indianapolis out of shape and overweight. He abruptly high-tailed it out of town, skipping his Saturday workout and flying back to Alabama unannounced.

That didn't dissuade the Cincinnati Bengals, though. They used the sixth pick on him, then watched him hold out of training camp. When he finally signed, he suffered a broken foot during a non-contact drill at training camp, and his rookie season was largely a waste.

Smith has developed into a quality tackle, but he and others went through their share of pain and frustration to get him there.

A statement game -- Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree left people scratching their heads in 2009 when he walked to the podium, smiled at reporters, and -- without fielding any questions -- read a 20-second statement explaining why he wouldn’t be running a 40-yard dash for scouts. Doctors at the combine had discovered a stress fracture in his foot.

"It's an old injury I've been having," said Crabtree, later drafted by San Francisco. "I've never had any pain in it. I will run my 40, and after that I'm going to do surgery. And I'm looking forward to going to the next level."

Then, he was gone.

Facing the blitz -- In 2011, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett fielded one too many questions about the rumors of his alleged drug use. He was patient at first, telling reporters: "When I saw that stuff, I laughed about it. I said I'm not going to talk about it here."

Then, came more questions. And more. His patience grew increasingly thin.

He said he intended to tell teams "what they need to know and I'm going to leave it at that."

Finally, when the onslaught of questions continued, the future New England Patriots backup abruptly cut the interview short and walked off the platform.

Cam being Cam -- Taking a page from Crabtree's book, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton opened his 2011 combine news conference with a prepared statement, an explanation of why he earlier had referred to himself as "an entertainer and an icon."

The eventual No. 1 overall pick of the Carolina Panthers was at once charming and self-absorbed, more than once speaking about himself in the third person.

"Everyone knows Cam comes from a spread offense," he said at one point.

And later, "With Cam Newton or without, the NFL will be."

That was a relief.

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