January is always a crazy time for me. On one hand, it’s the best time of the year because I get to get out and see all the people I text and email the other 11 months of the year. On the other, it’s incredibly busy, with so much information to gather and publish. And it’s tough being away from the family for almost the whole month.

Today, though, let’s focus on the positives. Here are a few thoughts gathered from conversations I’ve had through Week 1 of my annual Amuck in America tour.

  • On Tuesday, a couple of agents asked me if scouts would be sticking around until Wednesday, the third day of workouts at the College Gridiron Showcase in Addison, Texas. I knew why they were asking — their clients were looking to skip Wednesday’s workout, with the excuse that no NFL teams would be there. What’s frustrating is that though I’m super-proud of our game, we (the organizers of the game) are not at a point where we have a roster full of first-rounders. These kids need to play every chance they get, even if it impresses only a handful of people. When players immediately start asking if they can skip workouts, it makes me wonder if they love football. And if you’re not a Top 100 prospect, you really need to exude a love of football.
  • Today I had a long conversation with a financial advisor who, after years of pursuing NFL clients, gave it up this year. I called him to pick his brain about what makes it so hard to succeed in the game, and along the way, he shared something with me that I hadn’t thought of. There was a time, he said, when he’d discuss his NFLPA certification openly with his clients, but no more. Now he has to pick his spots because the cache is gone, and it’s all because of — you guessed it — the decision by so many players to kneel during the anthem. He works with plenty of retired and pre-retired professionals from an older generation, and while they accept the players’ actions intellectually, it’s difficult to stomach on an emotional level. That’s something I hadn’t thought of: that, to some degree, the NFL has become so toxic that it’s splashing on the non-football business of some people in the game. That’s not good.
  • Lately I’ve been mulling joining the Pro Football Writers of America. It doesn’t really benefit me, per se, and I don’t really think of myself as ‘media’ in the traditional sense, but I’ve been kicking it around. At any rate, it got me thinking — why isn’t there a professional organization for current, former and aspiring NFL scouts? Why isn’t there a body that rewards and honors scouts that excel, or helps gather information on the profession, or even helps show the ropes to those who want to work for NFL teams some day? It’s something I’ve been mulling for a while now. Think it’s a good idea? A dumb one? Would you be interested if I started such a society? Hit me up on Twitter (@InsideTheLeague) with your ideas.
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