(NewsCore) The process NFL Teams use to evaluate talent is a pressure-packed and grueling one. Right now, as teams look for free agents to fill key holes on their rosters, they're sifting through thousands of pages of scouting reports and dozens of hours of video to find the perfect fit.
There's one team that thinks it has hit on a smart strategy for identifying the best free agents on the market: They look for players with great wives.
When NFL receiver Laurent Robinson was starting his free-agent tour last month, he assumed all his visits would be like any other. He'd show up alone, talk to team officials about his playing style and maybe his 40-yard-dash time before discussing contract terms. Then the Jacksonville Jaguars called.
"I never planned to go," said Robinson's wife, Kat. "They asked him to bring me. We've been in the league five years; I never knew of anything like that. They said, 'We want your wife to come.'"
As far back as Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, athlete marriages have mostly been a source of entertainment and scandal. But the top members of Jacksonville's brain trust have drawn a link between good football players and stable marriages. Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said he borrowed the idea from college recruiting, where a parent is always involved, but simply shifted the focus from parents to wives.
Shahid Khan, the Jaguars' new owner, who made his fortune in auto-parts manufacturing, said he had the idea because he tries to meet all of the spouses of his employees. He said he has retreats in which his employees are encouraged to bring their spouses. Khan figured some of the things needed to be a solid player -- like staying after practice or putting in extra work -- require a stable home environment. The team's new coach, Mike Mularkey, spoke with Smith about the importance of a good family life during his interview process and just like that, a new NFL personnel theory was born.
"If you're happy at home with your wife at home, I think the energy level is higher," Mularkey said. "It's very important to me ... There's a lot that goes with being married. I just believe the happier you are with your wife, the happier you are on the field. I really believe that."