University of Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard made a statement today when he pulled up to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis behind the wheel of a $270,000 John Deere 9860 STS combine the crown jewel of the company's combine line.
"It's a style, a lifestyle, an attitude that I'm trying to project," said Gilyard, who is expected to be among the first receivers taken in the April draft. "If you want to be big time, you have to carry yourself big time. This thing is pimped out. It's got everything engine air scoop, high-torque variable drive feederhouse, a folding auger, the StalkMaster Corn Head Chopping System, John Deere's patented Bullet Rotor technology, and 12 flat screens."
Gilyard's purchase, using an advance from his agent, has definitely turned heads in Indianapolis.
"You don't drive a sweet piece of farm equipment like that into downtown Indianapolis without creating a stir," said Colts general manager Bill Polian. "All the other tractors, bailers and smaller combines pulled aside and let Mardy pass. He earned instant respect."
While Gilyard's purchase has impressed some general managers with its brash confidence, others are worried the former Bearcats receiver needs to work on his priorities.
"He's not the first guy to show up at the combine in an expensive vehicle," said one front office exec who wished to remain anonymous. "But it's the kind of vehicle he showed up in. It's not an Escalade or something. It's a huge piece of farm equipment. Is he trained to drive that? A lot of people don't know this, but Ryan Leaf showed up here in 1998 driving a grain thresher. He accidentally tore off the arm of a Cleveland Browns scout. And he was never the same after that."