Nothing compared to USC's 2006 Pro Day
NFL coaches and scouts turned out en masse for USC's pro day to watch quarterback Mark Sanchez, linebackers Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Clay Matthews and the rest of the draft-eligible Trojans.
But the scene paled in comparison to USC's 2006 event, regarded throughout the college and pro football worlds as the pro day to end all pro days.
Back then, pro day was open to the public. So a huge crowd showed up to catch a glimpse of Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, running back LenDale White and others. The crowd grew so large, in fact, the fire marshal threatened to shut down the event.
Coach Pete Carroll, capitalizing on the interest, had tied pro day to junior day, when high school prospects come to campus. It made for an interesting mix of college players, high school players, agents, coaches, scouts, media and fans.
The day began with Carroll sternly admonishing agents to stay away from underclassmen who were not yet eligible for the draft.
The bench-press test was held on the field rather than away from the media in the weight room as it is now. So reporters and photographers stood with the notepads and cameras poised just a few inches above Bush and other players as they performed their reps, an NFL scout exhorting the athletes to push.
Meanwhile, a noticeably out-of-shape White and his agent huddled in a corner of the field trying to decide whether it was good idea for the burly back to run the 40-yard dash. They opted not to.
Later, fans walked across the street and stood 10 deep across the width of another practice field to watch Leinart go through his passing workout.
Not surprisingly, the NCAA later passed a rule that forbids prospective student athletes from attending the workout.
-- Gary Klein
Photo: Reggie Bush surveys scene at USC's 2006 Pro Day. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire