Luke Falk did media interviews on Friday and participated in throwing drills on Saturday morning at the NFL Combine. But he did not run the 40 yard dash.
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk eloquently advocated for more discussion around the issue of suicide in young males at the Senior Bowl last month.
This week, at the NFL Scouting Combine, he told reporters that he’s still mourning the loss of his friend and teammate, WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who took his own life in January.
“It still just feels not real,” Falk said about Hilinski’s passing. “I know the guys up there are really doing a lot of team activities to come together, but I don’t think we’ll ever get over it. It’s always gonna be with us. Tyler’s always gonna be with us. Hopoefully a lot of good comes from it. Tyler will always be part of us.”
Falk is one of four WSU players at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week. The Cougars’ three-year starting quarterback is projected as a third or fourth round draft pick, and he stands out among the group of draft eligible quarterbacks with his his maturity.
Falk said Hilinski’s death really “put a lot of things in perspective for me.”
“This is football, we’re extremely blessed to be here, for a job interview to get paid to play a game,” Falk said. “It really just set in, what really matters in life – and that’s how you treat people and relationships. And we’re only here for a short amount of time.”
Falk had a special relationship with Hilinski, he said. Quarterbacks can be a solitary bunch, and it took meeting Hilinski for Falk to really form a bond with another quarterback.
“Tyler was somebody that personally affected me a lot. I didn’t really, I guess, associate with other quarterbacks that much until Tyler came in,” Falk said. “He just had this infectious energy, and I have no doubt in my mind that he would have led the Cougs to a great season this year.”
Falk checked in at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds during official measurements at the combine, with 9 ¼ inch hands. He did not run the 40 yard dash, but participated in the throwing drills on Saturday morning.
Falk broke a bone in his left (non-throwing) wrist early last season, and had surgery on the wrist in December that caused him to miss the Cougar’s Holiday Bowl game against Michigan State. He wore a brace on his left wrist at the Senior Bowl, and kept the brace on at the combine, though he told reporters the brace will likely come off for good in a couple of weeks.
His performance in the throwing drills elicited mixed reviews after he missed several throws.
But as NFL Network Draft analyst Mike Mayock pointed out during the broadcast of the QB drill session, NFL executives use the Combine as an opportunity to watch a quarterback’s mechanics and footwork, and don’t pay as much attention to how many passes he completes because the quarterbacks are throwing to foreign receivers and haven’t had the opportunity to work on timing.