INDIANAPOLIS – The media center at the NFL Combine got a definite upgrade Sunday when Annabelle and Mallory Hasselbeck became reporters for a morning and interviewed several members of the 2014 Draft Class.
Hasselbeck? That’s right, the 12- and 11-year-old daughters of former Seahawks and current Colts backup QB Matt Hasselbeck and his wife, Sarah.
The girls were equipped with a NFL Network microphone and cameraman, and their interviews are scheduled to run on the network’s “NFL Rush Zone.”
How did all this happen?
“We were in the car one day and my dad said, ‘Would you guys like to interview people like Johnny Manziel during the Combine?’ I was like, ‘Yes! I would!’ ” said Annabelle, 12. “I was very excited about that, and now I’m here.”
|YOU DON’T SAY|
“The worst part about watching the Canada game from the USA is no Don Cherry between periods.”
And how was her stint as a reporter?
“It’s very fun,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”
Being at Lucas Oil Stadium is nothing new for Mallory, 11. She won the Punt, Pass and Kick regional competition in her age group during the season, but couldn’t advance to the AFC Championship game.
“I had to get foot surgery so I couldn’t go,” Mallory said. “But it was fun to be on the same field where my dad plays.”
The girls were accompanied by Sarah and their 8-year old brother, Henry, who had to get to hockey practice in time to put on all the gear he wears as a goalie.
THE OTHER SIDE OF SAM
Michael Sam, the defensive end from Missouri, drew the largest media crowd of the Combine on Saturday after announcing two weeks ago that he was gay.
|STAT DU JOUR: MAKING A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE|
Jadeveon Clowney wants to be the first pick overall in the May’s NFL Draft. When asked why he should be, the South Carolina defensive end pointed to the Seahawks.
“The Super Bowl,” he said. “Defense won that game. Seattle shut them down, shut them out. It takes defense to win championships, hands down. You had a great quarterback in Peyton Manning – hats off to him also – but defense wins the Super Bowl.”
If the Houston Texans do select Clowney with the No. 1 pick, he will join a very select group. In the past 19 drafts, defensive players have been the top pick twice:
But what’s the NFL’s take on him?
“He’s been a good player, he’s been in a locker room,” said Ozzie Newsome, general manager of the Baltimore Ravens and a Hall of Fame tight end. “It’s what you the media, what are you all going to do with him? Once he gets in and can rush the quarterback and get the quarterback on the ground and make tackles, he’s going to be a good teammate.
“This is something new in the league. We all have to adapt to it. But I think our locker room has had the tendency to adapt to things a lot smoother than maybe the media does.”
LIFE IN THE FASTER LANE
The wide receivers and quarterbacks took to the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, after Saturday belonged to the offensive linemen and tight ends. So the times in the 40-yard dash were considerably faster.
Clemson’s Sammy Watkins did nothing to dash his status as the top wide receiver in this class by running an official time of 4.43 seconds. Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas topped the QBs at 4.61.
THE WEIGHTING GAME
Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix weighed in at 331 pounds. And that was after dropping 23 pounds prior to the Combine.
Asked the reason for the weight loss, Nix offered, “I enjoy my weight. But people wanted me down, so I lost it.”
But he didn’t lose his sense of humor, as he added, “My stomach doesn’t stick out as much. That’s nice. I just feel sexier.”