BUTTE – Over the past couple days current and former NFL players have been flooding the Butte-Bozeman area putting on skill camps for all ages.
Earlier Saturday morning at Montana State, Dane Fletcher hosted the first annual Verified Combine, testing high school athletes from across the Treasure State with real NFL combine drills such as the 40-yard dash, broad jump and bench press to name a few. The event cultivated an effort put on by Dane and The Pitt gym that allowed these high school athletes to use that platform in order to attract attention from coaches outside of Montana. Along with that came the advice and guidance from several former and current NFL players that jumped at the opportunity to share their stories in hope that it makes an impact on the future of the sport.
“Now we’re just as a verified combine we’re saying this is the actual numbers that this kid can perform at. And put that on this platform where all universities can see their numbers and see where these kids stand,” said Fletcher, the event organizer. “If you’re a sophomore and you’re a running back in Montana, it doesn’t matter the smallest school or the biggest school, doesn’t matter, you know exactly where you stand in the state. Who’s faster than you, who’s stronger than you. If you’re the strongest, how much better do you need to get this year compared to next year and stay the best.”
“But the soft skills you get out of it, the leadership, hard work, being able to truly work with your teammates, that’s just something you don’t get with any other sport,” says Super Bowl XLI champion Matt Ulrich. “So the ability to do that and the ability to tell my story and have that platform, and, of course, be able to pull out a super bowl ring to kind of talk about that side of things too, it’s really fun,” he added. “I spent five or six hours here earlier on this field with the Atlanta Falcons football camp. Just ran into a little guy Maxwell who’s there and he said I remember you hitting your sled. I mean that stuff resonates with me.”