Top prospect sent home from CFL combine, could see draft stock drop

Peter Godber, the fourth-ranked prospect by the league’s scouting bureau, was asked to leave the combine on Saturday after declining to participate in testing events at the last minute due to a supposed illness.

Johnathon Hardaway, Godber’s agent, has a history of directing clients to decline participation in combine testing on short notice. Arnaud Gascon-Nadon (Laval, 2012) and Josiah St. John (Oklahoma, 2016) both attended the combine in recent years, but elected not to participate in the combine due to close proximity with their pro days.

Godber claimed to be feeling sick this morning, but there’s reason for skepticism. Godber’s pro day is in just four days, meaning he’ll soon be able to provide teams with key testing numbers (40-yard dash, bench press, etc.) while also making himself available for interviews with the media. But pro days don’t allow for the all-important opportunity for players to conduct face-to-face interviews with CFL teams.

The league doesn’t allow CFL players to attend the combine unless they agree to participate in all testing and drills. In theory, however, a player could attend the combine and interview with teams before forgoing testing the following day under a special circumstance — like, say, becoming sick.

This practice, while (arguably) effective, has inevitably rubbed people the wrong way. The CFL invested money in flying Godber to and from Winnipeg which has now been (essentially) wasted and his combine roster spot could have gone to a different player who genuinely intended to fully participate in the event.

One source indicated that Godber’s stock in the draft will fall as a result of his failure to perform in the testing and drills. There are already teams who are weary of selection players represented by Hardaway; a stunt like Saturday’s will do nothing to change that.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.