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VanderNotes from the Combine | Vandermeer's View

Many people think this is the last NFL Combine in Indianapolis for a while. There's a feeling that the league will monetize it better in Dallas or Los Angeles. We'll see what happens but as much as I love to hate the Colts, their hometown is terrific for an event like this.

I think the things that fans would enjoy most they actually can't be a part of. Walking the halls of the convention center you'll see head coaches, GM's, college players and enough former Texans employees to fill a 53-man roster.

The Texans part of this applies to all teams. These just happen to be the guys we know best. For instance, the Texans media crew ran into T.J. Yates, who played and coached for Houston.

I posted on my Facebook account that we visited with the Texans Legend and got several comments jumping on the word 'Legend.' Remember folks – Legend is the NFL brand term for anyone who has played in the league. It's an NFL thing.

Yates made amazing contributions to this team, helping them clinch the first playoff appearance and victory. And coming off his couch to join the squad and help get a huge win in 2015 at then-undefeated Cincinnati and assisting in a four-game winning streak that led to a division title after a 2-5 start.

Lovie Smith is having a big week and when I make this observation it's not even about breaking down draft prospects. He made a free throw, ice cold, on the Pat McAfee Show which we got on video and it quickly blew up.

The coach hasn't been at the Combine in a while and can't walk 30 feet without people stopping him and wanting to get reacquainted, like a conversation he had with former NFL coach and Titans Radio Commentator Dave McGinnis, right in front of our broadcast position.

As Smith was wrapping up a Texans TV shoot, the Madden gamer people approached him and requested he enter their remote unit. They've been on site scanning college players for the game. They said they needed a scan of the well-known Lovie Smith beard. Of course!

At his press conference he made an R&B reference to underscore how Cover 2 doesn't go out of style. Later, in his interview on Texans Radio, he revealed he has a TikTok account so he can watch rare footage of old bands in his spare time. We ended the conversation talking about Sly and the Family Stone's performance at Woodstock. Wow! That was after all the football stuff, of course.

Smith and Texans GM Nick Caserio have been in the Texans stadium suite watching the workouts. When they're not doing that, they are taking part in one the 45 player interviews that teams are allotted here in Indy. I assume there's also some time to eat dinner.

Our Texans Radio location is set up in a huge hall right next to the bench press mini arena. Occasionally we get our interviews interrupted by grunts from players and yells from a strength coach on the P.A. who urges on the athletes. The most often-used direction is "lock 'em out!" to get players to do the full rep.

On the other side of that setup is an area with podiums for the 100+ press conferences. I asked Stanford defensive line prospect Thomas Booker about Davis Mills. He said Mills was always cool under pressure and a great leader. He also talked about the challenge of the 2020 pandemic-shortened season that forced the Cardinal to prepare off-campus because of Covid restrictions and how that brought the team together.

Upon listening to many of the athletes answer questions I decided to rival John Harris' Harris 100 with the Vandermeer 100, my list of the best performers at press conferences. Booker will be top ten for sure (Btw, I'm not really doing this. Are you kidding?! Who has the time? Interesting idea, though).

Thursday, the workouts got started in the bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium. The 40 times were scorching hot but they don't immediately post the times in the stadium, so the fans are left to wonder.

It was nice that fans got in the building to watch some of the workouts. Malik Willis showed off his strong arm. There were many impressive workouts. But it's hard to glean much from what a former Texans coach described as 'players working out in their underwear.'

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