The NFL Draft convenes Thursday night, and you’re going to see a bunch of big ol’ boys celebrate with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And you can blame G.K. McCoy.
The 2009 Oklahoma all-American started the trend of suffocating the commish with a bear hug. That comes from the testimony of the victim himself. Appearing on ESPN’s Mike & Mike In the Morning radio show Thursday, Goodell was asked how the tradition of embracing the commissioner started.
“The best of my recollection on this is, every year before the draft, the day before, all the draft-eligible players that we bring into New York, come in and we sit in my office for probably 45 minutes, half an hour, and have a chance to talk,” Goodell said. “And Gerald McCoy, who was drafted by Tampa Bay the next day, I remember saying, ‘this is a big moment for me. Can I really express myself?’ I said, ‘Sure. Within reason.
“He came out on that stage, and I tell you, he hit me. And I still feel it. He just really embraced me.
“What it is, this is something they work for all their lives. They’ve worked hard. This is a goal of theirs. To finally be drafted in the NFL is a big moment. And it’s an emotional moment. And when they come across, I think it really hits a lot of these guys.
“Gerald had actually lost his mother just a few months before. It was a point where it was a big time for him. For me to be able to have just a moment with these guys as they start their career is really an honor.”
Goodell was asked if he ever sees a guy come out and hope he doesn’t get embraced, because of the size and strength of some of these draftees.
“I’m prepared now for it,” Goodell said. “I wasn’t prepared for Gerald. But he really hit me. It’s wonderful. I really enjoy it.”