INDIANAPOLIS — Billy Price feared the worst when he felt something pop in his left upper chest Thursday afternoon.
That’s why he was so relieved Friday morning. An MRI revealed that the injury he suffered during his bench-press drill at the NFL combine was an incomplete tear of his pectoral muscle.
He will wait for a second opinion before deciding if surgery is necessary but expects to be fully healthy for his NFL rookie season.
“I have no bruising, which is huge for me,” Price said. “I woke up this morning and looked down there (at his chest) like, thank God.
“Yeah, I’m definitely happy. It’s definitely something minor, something that’s not going to make me miss time or impact me going forward in the season.
Price, who won the Rimington Trophy as college football’s best center in 2017, was hoping to do “mid 30s for sure” in reps at the combine. Instead, he was injured on his third rep.
“Something didn’t feel right,” he said. “I’ve been lifting since I was in the fifth grade. I’m familiar with my body and I try to be very aware of what’s going on. I didn’t feel something right. I grabbed it, felt a little bit of swelling, a little bit of a pop or a tingle.”
At first, he feared his chance to play in the NFL might have ended.
“You get kind of frantic and understand your career is in jeopardy right now,” Price said. “Everything you’ve worked for since playing with the West Catholic Crusaders in sixth grade could be up in the air and could be done. I was a little emotional.”
But that fear eased after meeting with the Indianapolis Colts’ team doctors, getting the MRI and feeling less pain as the day went on. He proceeded with the team interviews he had scheduled Wednesday night.
“You have to be able to sell yourself and your brand and what you’re going to bring into an organization,” Price said. “OK, flip the script, be very positive about this. I’m not worried about this at all. I’m going to come back stronger.”
Price is considered a possible first-round pick. He said it’s too early to know how the injury might affect his draft status.
The irony, as he acknowledged, was that Price was injured in a lifting drill after being remarkably durable at Ohio State. He started a school-record 55 games and said his only injury was a sprained knee that didn’t even force him out of practice.
The pectoral injury will be only a small bump in the road, he believes.
“You’re going to have to really put a bullet between us Ohio State guys’ eyes to put us down,” he said.