EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- One of the biggest melodramas of the NFL draft season -- Teddy Bridgewater's decision not to throw with a glove during his pro day after using one during most of his college career -- is apparently over.
Bridgewater put his gloves back on for his private workout with the Minnesota Vikings in April and fared much better than he did during his pro day. He learned something, coach Mike Zimmer said, about staying true to what worked for him. And now that he's preparing to play his first two seasons outside at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, Bridgewater said the gloves are staying on.
"You can best believe I'll continue to wear my gloves," he said during his introductory press conference at the Vikings' team facility Friday.
The quarterback said the gloves help him grip the ball better, and he'll use them as he adjusts to the Vikings' temporary move outdoors, as well as yearly road games in Green Bay and Chicago. Bridgewater has never started a game in freezing temperatures, and one point of concern in the pre-draft process was his small hand size; his hand span is only 9 1/4 inches, and no quarterback with hands that small has made the Pro Bowl since 2008, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"I think it won't be a big adjustment at all," Bridgewater said of the cold weather. "I think we'll be able to use that to our advantage here in Minnesota. It's a mental thing and I'll just block it out and continue to play."
Bridgewater started wearing gloves as a freshman at Louisville, he said, and his former coach Charlie Strong recalled Bridgewater keeping them on through a driving rainstorm in a win over Southern Miss during his sophomore season.
"I said, 'Can you grip the ball?,' and he said, 'Yeah, coach,'" Strong said Friday. "It's a thunderstorm, there's water on the field and he made a couple of big-time throws in the rain with the glove on. It was something he had grown accustomed to, and he just wore it all the time."
He'll continue to do so in the NFL, after the decision not to use them during his pro day led to an untold amount of scrutiny over a seemingly small detail.
"I was listening to him [Thursday] doing an interview and he said one thing it taught him was to stay true to yourself," Zimmer said. "He plays all of these times wearing a glove and he comes out on his pro day, supposedly the biggest day, which really isn’t. The 44 games he played in college are the biggest days, this is just one day to show off in front of the NFL Network and everything. He said,'You just learn to stay true to yourself' And then he came out with us with the glove and threw it all over the place."