Roger Goodell’s draft hugs have been one of his staples during his time as NFL commissioner. Goodell was unable to give out any of his trademark bear hugs last spring, however, as the NFL conducted a virtual draft due to the pandemic.
But on Friday it was revealed that Goodell has been vaccinated and will be allowed to hug any players at the draft, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Whether or not that means he’ll actually do so, however, is yet to be seen.
A year after holding the draft inside his home, Goodell will be on stage in Cleveland for this year’s in-person draft that will be held on April 29 through May 1 (here’s how you can watch).
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Among the 13 prospects who will attend the draft include quarterbacks Trey Lance, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones. Additionally, 45 players will virtually participate in the draft. Among the players who will participate virtually include Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Alabama running back Najee Harris, Clemson running back Travis Etienne, Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell, Virginia Tech offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw, Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson and South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.
In addition, 32 current and former players will announce picks during Day 2 of the draft. That list of former players includes Hall of Famers Drew Pearson, Franco Harris, Anthony Munoz, Orlando Pace, John Randle, Joe DeLamielleure, and Will Shields. Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett is among the current players who will announce one of their team’s draft picks.
Hugs won’t be the only thing coming back for this year’s draft. NFL teams, after working from home during the 2020 draft, will be allowed to have socially distant draft rooms. No team will have a better draft setup than the Rams, who have turned a Malibu oceanfront property into their new draft headquarters.