Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson hugs NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Las Vegas Raiders seventh overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A large part of the NFL Draft coverage — mainly during the first round — is focused on the commissioner. Not only is Roger Goodell there to announce the picks, but he’s also there to commemorate the moment with the prospects in attendance, who will undoubtedly want to give him a bear hug if they hear their name called in Detroit on Thursday.

But any prospect looking to celebrate their name being called by lifting Goodell off his feet is out of luck. That’s because Goodell, who took over as the league’s commissioner in 2006, is recovering from recent back surgery, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Goodell, who underwent the surgery three weeks ago, is said to be recovering well, but it’s unclear if he can participate in his customary greeting.

That surely will be tested once Caleb Williams, who is expected to be announced as the first overall pick in Thursday’s Draft, has his name called by the commissioner.

If you can recall, this won’t be the first time hugs have been absent from the NFL Draft. In 2020, due to COVID-19 precautions, the virtual draft saw Goodell announce picks from his basement with no player interactions.

One would imagine that Goodell’s doctors have advised against moments like the ones below come Thursday night.

However, it is anyone’s guess whether the prospects in attendance know about Goodell’s condition. And whether they’ll even remember amidst one of their life’s most significant moments remains to be seen.

[Adam Schefter on X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.