The Pressures of Going Pro

Right now, all around the country, hundreds of former college football players are undergoing intense training routines, practicing their footwork, and brushing up on their interview skills in the hopes of being selected next month at the annual NFL Draft. Some, however, seem to be having more trouble with the process than others.

There's the curious case on Alabama offensive lineman   Andre Smith, who was a no-show for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis earlier this off-season. Well, OK. He showed up, yes, but he chose not to workout, and then left to state without telling anybody. Seems he had a training session to get to back in Alabama, since, you know, he was so horribly out of shape. Then, on Alabama's Pro Day (a chance for schools to broadcast their top-notch talent to professional scouts), Smith chose to run the 40-yard dash shirtless, which was an interesting decision. And while he didn't do nearly as bad as some originally thought, Smith suffered through some mild, flub-related embarrassment.

And then there's this. North Carolina wide receiver   Hakeem Nicks has apparently gained some weight since the NFL Combine. While it's not really a big deal to add a few pounds to your frame, it probably is worth noting when you're in the middle of the biggest job interview of your life. Nicks will likely lose the weight, which he gained because of an injury, but still, you have to wonder about the pressure these 20-year old kids are facing. Selected top-5 in the Draft can mean a guaranteed $20 million, easily. Nicks isn't projected that highly, but with kids playing for dollars and cents, every bit (or pound) counts.

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