Nursing a bad knee, John Elway shied away from NFL combines as a top prospect. (Paul Sancya/AP)
During draft season, draft pundits and members of the media criticize and over-analyze every little step that the top prospects take during the process, expressing their disappointment in decisions not to participate at the NFL Scouting Combine or simply to limit individual workouts.
Luckily for the Denver Broncos, they lived in a different age when John Elway was coming out of Stanford, or else they might have made a big blunder by passing up on him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 draft.
As it turns out, back in Elway's day there were four combines that players could participate in. He attended none of them.
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Elway says that the reason he skipped the combines is so that teams would not get a close look at him and notice that he was sporting a bad knee.
"I had a bad knee, and I just didn't want everybody to see it," Elway said, via ESPN.com.
Because of his own decisions, Elway understands why some quarterbacks may choose not to showcase their skills or put themselves at risk of falling down draft boards by throwing in Indianapolis.
"I always want to see a guy throw, see him work with some really good receivers, but I understand," Elway said. "Why would you want to look bad? I understand if a guy makes a choice. Again, I always want to see a guy throw, but I do understand their thinking when they don't sometimes."
If Elway would have been going through today's vigorous process, he may have been dinged with concerns about his long-term health and watched his draft stock fall. Instead, none of that mattered, and the Broncos looked solely at what they saw on film. Their reward was a future Pro Football Hall of Famer who went on to finish his playing career with two Super Bowl rings.