Pro football hopefuls prepare for NFL scouts

David Simmons (L) and Brandon Dillon (R)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The NFL’s Scouting Combine, or the pro football job fair, kicks off later this week at the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium, but the 300-plus collegiate athletes who’ll be here with invitation in hand aren’t the only NFL hopefuls in town.

A handful more are working out at St. Vincent Sports Performance, across from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where they’re looking to make their own dreams come true. Carroll High School and Marian University tight end Brandon Dillon, as well as Southport High School grad David Simmons Jr. have been training daily since early January. They’re not only adding muscle weight, but are improving their 40-yard dash times and other key skills in the hopes of getting opportunities in the NFL.

“I think everyone here has had that dream since they were little,” said Dillon, who is also taking classes, scheduled to graduate with a business degree as a fallback. “I didn’t go to Marian thinking about playing in the NFL, but the opportunity arose, and you can’t second-guess, you’ve got to go out there.”

Simmons, who played wide receiver in high school and at North Park in suburban Chicago says he will switch to defensive back while adding special teams duties. He’s not worried about coming up short when the scouts come in to check them out Wednesday.

“I’ve been coming here for 50 days straight,” said Simmons. “Another day doing drills is just another day, so I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’ve also been working out with Darius Butler and Kenny Moore picking their brains.”

Two players with Colts ties can’t hurt the process. Simmons will also attend Northwestern’s pro day next month, while Dillon will work out at Purdue’s pro day.

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