The most awkward, heartwarming part of the NFL draft is back in 2021: Roger Goodell can hug players

Chris Cwik
·1-min read

Get excited, NFL fans, because awkward draft hugs with commissioner Roger Goodell are back. 

Goodell is fully vaccinated, and will be allowed to hug players who attend the 2021 draft in person, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

When Mac Jones and Zach Wilson — who are among the players set to attend the draft in Cleveland — get selected, expect Goodell to be waiting for them with open arms. Players don't have to hug Goodell, especially with COVID-19 still prevalent in the United States, but Goodell's hugs have become a tradition at the draft. 

It has led to some wonderfully awkward moments, like Danny Shelton picking up Goodell in a bear hug.

And don't forget Dontari Poe going nose to nose with the commissioner.

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NFL draft will be held in person in 2021

After holding a fully virtual draft in 2020, the NFL will have an in-person draft in 2021. Goodell, a handful of prospects, team ambassadors and fans will be allowed to attend the event, which will be held in Cleveland. 

That's a big change from last season, when Goodell hosted the event from his basement. Despite the difficulties involved with the virtual draft, Goodell handled things well. He was even a little bit relatable on the last day of the draft, looking completely exhausted as he announced the final picks.

Goodell will have a lot to live up to at the 2021 draft. While the promise of awkward hugs may be a welcome sight for some, we're secretly hoping someone rolls out a comfortable chair for Goodell to lounge in for the final day of the event. 

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