It's that time of year again -- what one general manager this week calls "the greatest idiot test in history." The test? The drug test at the Indianapolis combine.
Despite the stories of past players who have failed combine drug tests are indicators, and there is a legion of these players, the following has happened: Some weeks ago, a prospect was told he will be drug tested at the NFL combine. He was given the approximate date of that test (if not the exact one), which is this week.
Still, the prospect continued to smoke weed despite knowing a drug test was around the corner. Why? In past cases it was raw arrogance. Or a fixation. Or a flimsy drug-testing program at their school falsely buoyed their belief they were infallible to drug tests.
Whatever the reason, they kept smoking. And the drug kept circulating in their system until the NFL's drug testers busted them.
"The drug tests are important for one obvious reason and one not so obvious," a team executive said.
The not so obvious: A failed drug test indicates addiction ... or grand stupidity. The truth is, many of the team decision makers believe a failed combine drug test is due to the latter. They believe the act of failing a test knowing basically the date you're going to be tested is a bigger problem than the use of the drug itself.
There are varied opinions about what exactly the numbers are when it comes to failed combine tests. One general manager I trust said there has been a steady decline in failed combine drug tests over the past decade or so.
But according to the GM this is happening: Ten years ago, the GM explained, you routinely had dozens of failures for marijuana. That number has fallen steadily to where the failures are many times in the single digits. The GM expects this year to again be low and added it might be at its lowest point in some time.
The belief is that constantly increasing social media scrutiny has almost shamed players into not taking drugs. "Newspaper headlines and ESPN didn't scare guys as much as being made fun of on Facebook and Twitter," a general manager said.
So, yes, social media is helping to keep guys from smoking the good stuff before their combine drug test.
Whatever it takes.
Unfortunately, someone -- or several someones -- will still fail the idiot test, and at least some of the results will leak publicly. Maybe a team leaks the news because it wants the player to slip down the draft board to them. Maybe one agent finds out and leaks it to screw a rival agent.
But it will happen and there will be a collective groan.
What an idiot.