Ohio State's Billy Price confident injury at the NFL combine is minor setback

INDIANAPOLIS — If there were an event that Billy Price was going to dominate at the NFL Combine, it was the bench press.

The Ohio State center has long been hailed as the team's strongest player and a good showing in Indianapolis would only help Price make his case as one of the best interior offensive linemen in this year's draft class.

Instead, disaster struck when he suffered an incomplete left pectoral tear three reps into the workout Thursday afternoon. It was a disappointing setback for Price -- who started a record 55 straight games for the Buckeyes and a projected first-round pick -- and could give prospective teams pause over the next few months.

But the Northeast Ohio native and former All-American believes it won't be an issue and approached the matter with a glass-half-full frame of mind, saying he can help his stock off the field as much as on it.

"The big thing, especially with this process, there is a physical component to this but there is the interview component to this. It's a bummer. It's the irony of I was supposed to come in and do very well at the physical drills," said Price, who hails from nearby Austintown. "But to realize that there is still the interview process to this and understanding that football is a physical game, but you have to be a smart, intelligent and a good person going into these interviews. You have to be able to sell yourself, sell your brand and what you're going to bring into an organization."

To be sure, teams — including the Browns, who could use one of their three second-round picks on Price if he falls to Day 2 — will dig into the situation. Price, though, maintains he'll be healthy by training camp and, pending a second opinion, won't need surgery to repair the damage.

Price, who played guard for three seasons before moving to center, was the 2017 Rimington Trophy winner (given annually to the nation's best center) and a two-time captain for the Buckeyes. In NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects, Price was described as "Day 1 starter at either guard or center" with "strength, toughness and position flexibility."

Price, who said he hung around at the combine for the express purpose of addressing the injury with the news media, hopes to showcase that grit once more through the draft process.

"I wasn't turning away and running away from this. At my career at Ohio State, I didn't miss any time. Anytime there was adversity, anytime there was a situation that I or the team had gone through something, I spoke very highly on it. I was the first person on it," he said.

"You can't run from an issue. I'm not going to hide something. This is something that's very minor thankfully and something that will be corrected and I'll be stronger going forward."

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