South Carolina offensive tackle Brandon Shell can’t go anywhere without someone saying uncle.
This week’s scouting combine has been no different.
Shell, a 6-6, 325-pounder ranked among the top 20 tackles in the draft, is the nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman and former NFL coach Art Shell.
Brandon Shell, who grew up in Charleston, says he’s watched tape of his uncle, who played with the Raiders from 1968-1982 and went to eight Pro Bowls.
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“He was a monster,” Shell said. “He’s a beast.”
The younger Shell said his uncle has advised him a bit in the pre-draft process, but the two don’t talk much about football or offensive line technique. And while scouts and coaches have told Shell this week they knew his uncle, the former Gamecock is trying to forge his own identity.
“I don’t try to fill his shoes or do the things he does,” he said. “I’m just focusing on Brandon Shell, and I have to do what I can do.”
Three things we learned
▪ Baylor receiver Corey Coleman will not run the 40 here. Coleman had sports hernia surgery six weeks ago and just began running again last week. The potential first-rounder plans on running at his pro day next month.
▪ Teams are asking Kansas State fullback Glenn Gronkowski about whether he’s a partier like his older brother Rob. The younger Gronkowski said he’s fielded “probably 50” questions about the infamous Gronk party cruise.
▪ Broncos executive John Elway recently spoke with Peyton Manning, but said the 39-year-old quarterback hasn’t decided whether he’ll retire. Manning’s $19 million salary becomes guaranteed March 9.
By the numbers
3/8 Growth, in inches, of Arkansas QB Brandon Allen’s hands in a month, after visits to a hand masseuse. Allen’s hands measured 8 1/2 inches at the Senior Bowl.
10 1/8 Elway’s hand measurement when the former Broncos QB recently measured his to have a basis for comparison with prospects’ measurements. Yes, hand size was thing in Indy on Thursday.
4 Times Michigan State QB Connor Cook was a game captain last season. Cook’s leadership skills have been in question after his Spartan teammates did not pick him as a season captain in 2015.
▪ Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was very short when asked about former Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. “Greg Hardy is a free agent,” Garrett said, insinuating that Hardy will not be back with the Cowboys. If they won’t take him back, who will?
▪ Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg seemed to be trying to distance himself from Texans coach Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg’s former college coach who is in the market for a QB. Hackenberg had little to say Thursday on several O’Brien-related questions.
▪ There was a lot of media room snark about the brown vest Ron Rivera wore Thursday as he made his rounds with print and TV reporters. But from this vantage point, the stylish vest complemented Rivera’s khakis and smart shoes well.
They said it
▪ “I know Pharoh (Cooper) was telling me about a Rams coach who asked him what’s the tallest mountain in the world. I don’t know what it is. It would have staggered me. That’s one of the weirdest ones I’ve heard.” – Notre Dame WR Will Fuller on the strangest question he’s gotten from a team at the combine so far.
▪ “We’re not going to tell him not to be a passionate player.” – Bengals personnel director Duke Tobin on whether he wants linebacker Vontaze Burfict to tone down his game.
▪ “I don’t know, and I don’t know politically whether I’m supposed to know. I’m not trying to be smarty, but there are people making decisions in that regard and nobody’s asked for mine and I’m not sure I’m supposed to give mine.” – Packers general manager Ted Thompson on what combine drills he would change.
▪ “He’s crazy, obviously, he likes to have fun. I’m probably not as much fun as him. That’s kind of hard to beat. I think it definitely comes with the family, though.” – Glenn Gronkowski on Rob Gronkowski and the family’s partying tradition.
Friday’s highlight: Running backs will do their timed 40. The fastest time of the weekend will come Friday when the backs run. Also, the slowest times of the weekend will come when the offensive linemen run Friday.
Combine on TV: Beginning at 9 a.m., NFL Network.