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Football was the fun part

This week, 300 plus football players are gathered in Indianapolis to make the impression of a lifetime at the NFL Scouting Combine.

It's something they worked their entire college career to earn an invite to, and those who have taken place in the past know how hyped today's players are.

"It's a lot of excitement because you work so hard leading up to that date," said cornerback Steven Nelson, who took part in the Combine in 2015. "It was a lot of training. For me, right after the college season I flew right to Arizona and did my training. I jumped in right away. I didn't take a break. I started training, got into a routine, had a clean diet. It definitely was something different.

"There is just so much adrenaline and anticipation going into it. It's one of those things you are not sure if you are ready for it or not, but you have put your work in for it. It's not like a game where you know what you are getting yourself into. It's a once in a lifetime type of thing."

And looking back on it, Nelson is grateful it was simply a once in a lifetime thing. The Combine isn't easy, and what you see on television is just a portion of what the players are put through.

"The schedule is crazy," said Nelson. "I remember waking up at 4 a.m. It was rough for me. I am a guy if I get overly excited, I won't go to sleep. I probably went to sleep about 1 a.m. that day. I was running off of three hours of sleep. It was bad. And that day probably didn't end until about 12 midnight. It was rough."

Take a look at Steelers defensive players when they were at the NFL Scouting Combine

There are the workouts you see on television, but there are also rounds of interviews with teams, with the media, meeting with medical and athletic training staffs.

"They kind of try to prep you for it," said Nelson. "They have a lot of prep guys that come in and talk to athletes at the training facility. They prep you for meetings with teams, interviews, IQ tests. All kind of things. One thing they failed to mention was being woken up at crazy hours. There is no prepping for that."

The players aren't the only ones who prep for it. The teams do as well, researching players backgrounds so when they go in for interviews there are no secrets.

"Some teams were different," said Nelson. "I think some were more aggressive, coming at you, seeing if you could handle the criticism and so forth, seeing if you were going to break or not. That is another thing they failed to mention in the prep. They tell you how to talk football, but they don't tell you these guys are going to attack you and stuff.

"It was interesting they knew everything, my childhood stuff. Things I forgot about and moved on from they brought up. These people really do their analysis on somebody. There is nothing you can hide. I went to five different high schools. I moved around a bit. One of the schools was an alternative school. I knew somebody would bring that up and sure enough they did."

While it might sound like it, it wasn't all bad for Nelson. He enjoyed the football side of it and hopes that those taking part in the Combine now do the same thing.

"That was definitely the fun part," said Nelson. "I am a competitor. All through college you see other guys at your position, their stats and what they are doing. At the Combine you get everybody under one roof, and you try to outshine one another. That was my highlight. I think I had a decent above average Combine. It wasn't exceptional. I could have run faster, jumped higher. But I killed my drills and my interviews.

"For the guys there now, I would say just enjoy it. Go in there, embrace it and have fun with it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. A lot of kids don't get that invite. To go there you are blessed. Go out there and act like you belong. Have fun."

A look at Nelson's NFL Scouting Combine numbers:

Player Info
First Name: Steven Nelson
Position: CB
College: Oregon State
Draft Class: 2015

Player Dimensions
Height: 70.13 inches
Weight: 197 pounds
BMI: 28.84

40 Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds
40 Yard (MPH): 18.22 (MPH)
20 Yard Dash: 2.63 seconds
10 Yard Dash: 1.57 seconds
Vertical Leap: 34.5 inches
Broad Jump: 115 inches

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