INDIANAPOLIS – Although Billy Price’s opportunity to impress NFL scouts this week ended early, the former Ohio State center isn’t letting that get him down.
After months of training to put his best foot forward at the NFL Scouting Combine, Price suffered an incomplete tear of his left pectoral muscle while participating in the bench press on Thursday, leaving him unable to participate with the rest of the offensive linemen in on-field workouts on Friday.
Instead of going home and sulking about the injury, however, Price continued to meet with NFL teams on Thursday night and met with the media on Friday morning, explaining that he did not want to hide from the situation and instead continue to take advantage of every opportunity to make a positive impression that he still could.
"That’s the first thing I told my agent, I said 'Listen, we’re not hiding from this. We’re going straight into this. And it’s something that I need to address, and not run from,'" Price said Friday. "I wasn’t turning away and running away from this."
Due to the strain that Friday’s on-field workouts could have put on his injury, doctors advised Price not to participate in those, and it remains uncertain whether he will need surgery to repair the injury. While Price was able to move his arm freely on Friday, and did not have any bruising – which he would have if he suffered a complete pectoral tear – he is currently seeking a second medical opinion to determine the best course of action for recovery.
Should Price end up needing surgery, he was told the recovery timeline will be four months. That would prevent Price from participating in Ohio State’s pro day on March 22, as well as in offseason training activities and minicamps with the NFL team that drafts him. The good news, though, is that Price should be able to make a full recovery in time to participate in training camp this summer and to play his NFL rookie season.
"It’s a huge relief," Price said. "I’ll be back, I’ll be fine for the season going forward and I should be fine going into training camp."
Price – who never missed a single game due to injury during his four playing seasons at Ohio State – acknowledged that he went through some moments of despair after suffering the injury on Thursday, initially fearing a more severe injury before receiving the results of his MRI on Friday morning.
"You get kind of frantic at first to understand, 'Hey, your career is in jeopardy right now.' Your career, and everything that you’ve worked for since I was playing with the West Catholic Crusaders in sixth grade, could be up in the air and could be done, so I was a little emotional," Price said. "I was a little hard on myself, to say the least. But once you get in the MRI tube, you got to understand: This is something that you can’t control. This is something that again, you’ve got to then react to, you’ve got to get better and you’ve got to be going forward 100 percent."
While the injury could damage Price’s draft stock, especially if he is unable to work out before the NFL draft, he is optimistic that he will ultimately come back from the injury stronger.
"You’re going to have to really put a bullet between us Ohio State guys’ eyes to put us down," Price said. "So I’m looking forward to getting back out there, and whatever team ends up selecting me, we’re going to be 100 percent, full ahead into it."
Although Price hasn’t had the opportunity to show what he can do physically in Indianapolis, he has had the opportunity to impress NFL teams in other ways, sitting down for formal interviews with 19 NFL teams while also participating in informal interviews with eight or nine other NFL teams.
The two-time Ohio State captain, who believes he will play center in the NFL even though he is also capable of playing guard, has taken a positive mindset into those interviews to try to show teams that he can be a leader and someone they can trust to play a pivotal position on their offensive line.
"You have to be smart, intelligent and a good person going into these interviews," Price said. "You’ve got to be able to sell yourself, sell your brand and what you’re going to bring to an organization. And that was something 'OK, let’s flip the script, be very positive about this,' because I am, I’m not worried about this (the injury) at all."
“You’re going to have to really put a bullet between us Ohio State guys’ eyes to put us down.” – Billy Price
Price is expected to be among the top offensive linemen selected in this year’s draft, which begins on April 26.