INDIANAPOLIS — The Latest from the NFL’s annual scouting combine (all times local):
LSU running back Leonard Fournette tried to douse the first serious question — his weight.
He tipped the scales at 240 pounds, 5 more than his playing weight. It was also heavier than anyone, including Fournette, anticipated.
The explanation: It’s the water
“Well, I drank a lot of water before I weighed in,” he said, trying to brush it off. “It came right off.”
But now NFL scouts will spend the weekend trying to determine if Fournette’s answer holds water as well as his body.
He came to Indy ranked as one of the top running backs in the class and could be the first one off the board April 27 — if he can keep the weight off. But with this year’s running backs class expected to be one of the best in years, any doubts could hurt his draft stock.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch would consider bringing back Colin Kaepernick — if the quarterback is interested.
Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract before free agency opens next week. But during a meeting this week, which Lynch described as open and transparent, the 49ers made it clear they’d like to have him back.
Under the circumstances, Kaepernick might be the 49ers’ best option.
“Well, I know that we don’t have any (quarterbacks) really under contract. I know Kaepernick is, but just seeing (Wednesday) that he’s going to opt out in a week or whenever that is, we don’t have anybody on our roster,” new coach Kyle Shanahan said. “So I’ve thrown them into the category of everybody else who are free agents and possibilities going into the draft.”
ESPN also reported Thursday that Kaepernick will stand during the national anthem this season. His agent did not respond to requests from The Associated Press for comment.
The NFL scouting combine is known as much for the grilling as the drilling of prospective pros.
Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, for instance, says every team he’s met with wondered why he had transferred from Alabama.
He says he told them, “I just felt like it was the right business decision for me and it worked out.”
Kamara says the biggest surprise so far was all the poking and prodding from the doctors, “but it’s worth it, I guess.”
The 15-minute interviews with a dozen teams also were draining.
“The craziest question?” Kamara said.
That was easy.
“A guy asked what my drink of choice was.”
And his response?
Longtime linebacker Chad Greenway is still contemplating his NFL future. The Minnesota Vikings think he’ll make a decision within the next week.
“Obviously he’ll want to get the decision done before the start of free agency,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
Players can start signing with new teams next Thursday.
Greenway spent 10 seasons in Minnesota after being selected in the first round, 17th overall, in 2007 out of Iowa. He made two Pro Bowls and had 18 sacks, 11 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries. He has been a team leader for most of his stay with the Vikings.
Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith and Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio both said they enjoyed their time in Mexico City last season.
In fact, Smith was such a big fan of the experience he thinks the NFL should continue playing games south of the border.
“I think the NFL will continue to invest in Mexico City and I think that’s a good thing,” he said.
Del Rio gets another opportunity because the Raiders will host the Patriots there next season.
“We loved the experience going down and playing in that environment,” he said. “It was a great environment. Look forward to going down again. I would love it if somehow, the commissioner could make sure that every other year we have it as a road game and not always a home game for us. Don’t really look forward to playing nine road games and seven home games, so other than that, though, it was a tremendous experience and look forward to going down there and embracing it.”
Del Rio is a happier man now that he has a new contract.
Three weeks ago, team owner Mark Davis rewarded the coach for the team’s playoff run by tearing up the original contract and giving him a four-year deal that seemed more commensurate with Del Rio’s experience.
On Thursday, Del Rio said he appreciated the gesture — especially since the original deal wasn’t “a very good contract to start with.”
Take it from someone who’s done it, John Elway predicts John Lynch will go from superstar on the playing field to successful front office man.
Maybe it’s the Stanford smarts.
Said Elway: “John’s a very bright guy. He knows football and ultimately that’s what that position is about. He’s got a lot to learn administratively and the rules that go along with that but John’s smart to know what he doesn’t know.”
Once Lynch gets familiar with the ins and outs of his new job as 49ers general manager, Elway thinks Lynch will “do very, very well.”
Elway also endorsed Adam Peters, the 49ers’ new vice president of player personnel who was plucked from the Broncos’ personnel department. Elway called Peters a “hard worker and a great talent evaluator” whom he didn’t want to lose but was glad to see get this opportunity alongside Lynch.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn has sifted through the wreckage of his team’s Super Bowl collapse, and found some good in it.
He thinks the monumental loss to New England, in which Atlanta blew a 25-point lead, can serve as an inspiration for the Falcons to come back even stronger next season.
Historically, that hasn’t happened.
It’s been 45 years since the Dallas Cowboys first went from Super Bowl loser to champion. The Miami Dolphins did it the next season, too. No other team has successfully done it.
In fact, the last time a runner-up played in the next Super Bowl was when Buffalo endured the last of its record-breaking four consecutive losses in January 1994.