One of the most unfortunate stories at the 2018 NFL Combine is Ohio State center Billy Price getting injured during the bench press event.
He’s had more than one opinion and the injury is said to be a partially torn pec. Price believes it’s “very minor” and some have suggested he could return in four months from the injury, making it possible for him to take part in training camp.
News of the injury spread quickly as Price was scheduled to talk to the media shortly after the bench press event. Due to the injury, he was unable to show up. Fortunately, he made sure to spend some time talking the next day and explained what happened.
“Getting ready for the bench press, I got into my warmup set, had no problem, no issues,” Price said. “Got the first rep off, got to the third, thought I was still doing well, felt a pop. Immediately racked it. Something didn’t feel right. I’ve been lifting since I was in the fifth grade. I’m familiar with my body and I try to be very aware of what’s going on. I didn’t feel something right. I grabbed it. Felt a little bit of swelling a little bit of a pop or a tingle.”
Price met with the Indianapolis Colts’ doctors, had an MRI and found the injury was “officially an incomplete pec tear with no grade, no issues like that,” he said. “Something very minor. Looking at the MRI results, we were able to see a little bit of an issue, nothing that’s going to force me to miss time at all. I’ll be fine for the season going forward and I should be fine going into training camp.”
Price was expected to be a Round 1-2 draft pick in April and though he doesn’t believe the injury is serious, teams will likely be a little more aprehensive when considering his place on their draft boards.
Price says he was relieved it was just a partial tear as it could have been worse.
“Oh, it’s huge,” he said. “You look at guys who have a complete pec tear. I have no bruising, which is huge for me. I woke up this morning and looked down there like thank god. No bruising, no issues in that sense. Yeah, I’m definitely happy. It’s definitely something minor. It’s not something that’s going to make me lose time or impact me going forward in the season.”
Bengals fans may remember that 2016 first round pick William Jackson tore his pec in training camp of his rookie year and landed on Injured/Reserve. He was healthy enough to return around the mid-way point of the season, but didn’t end up coming back as the Bengals selected Cedric Peerman to come off the injury list instead.
Price said he met with 19 teams while in Indianapolis and stayed in town for another day after his injury just to talk to the media.
“Hell yeah,” Price said when asked if he was still in Indianapolis specifically to talk to the media. “I said, ‘I gotta talk to the media.’ That’s the first thing I told my agent, I said, ‘listen, we’re not hiding from this. We’re going to straight into this. It’s something I need to address and not run from.’ I didn’t’ run from anything at Ohio State. When we lost at Iowa, I was the first one out there.”
It sounds like he has a winning attitude. Now, it’s just a matter of how much teams will trust his pec to be recovered for training camp. It’s not like Price is a frequently-injured guy. In fact, he started 55 straight games in college at Ohio State and his only injury was a minor MCL sprain that didn’t cause him to miss a game.
“That’s the irony behind it,” Price said of getting injured in the bench press after such an impressive playing streak in college. “Everybody is making a headline out of it right now. But things happen. It’s football. You’re playing a very dangerous game. you’re training at a very high level. Everything you’re putting your body through to be the best and most prepared here at the combine, be able to compete with your peers and compete with the best centers in this class, the best guards in this class, it sucks. I watched Quenton Nelson rip out 35 and I looked around, I said, OK, let’s go get this thing, let’s go push the limit. I got in there, felt great. You got the adrenaline running. You’re ready to go. Just something happens, it’s a slip-up, that’s part of it.”
We’ll have to see if and how this impacts Price’s draft stock. We can’t say for sure and neither can he.
“Playing 55 games at Ohio State, the resume and the body of work is there. I have a great relationship with the strength staff back at Ohio State if anybody were to ask, ‘can this kid run? Can this kid move? How’s his bendability?’ They have all the numbers. They have all the metrics with that. Coach Mick (Mickey Marotti) can speak on my behalf if need be if a team is concerned about anything. But this is a situation where we’re just excited for whatever is going to come next.”
We’ll be tracking what comes next for Price as the draft nears. If he were to somehow fall to the top of Round 3, I can’t imagine the Bengals wouldn’t jump at drafting him.
Update: Price underwent surgery on the partial pec tear he suffered at the NFL Combine and the recovery is expected to take four months. It’s possible for him to return by training camp and that’s certainly the hope.
Ohio St. center and potential first-round pick Billy Price underwent successful surgery on his “incomplete pec tear” today, per source. Price is expected to be sidelined four months but should be ready for the start of training camp.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2018