In a perfect world, Matt Seybert would have been spending Monday going through a final workout, perhaps perfecting his technique for his most important job interview ever.
The former Michigan State tight end who burst onto the scene in 2019 after spending the majority of his career buried on the depth chart, was all set to take part in pro day at Michigan State on Tuesday after spending the last couple of months training in Cincinnati to prepare himself.
Of course, pro day is not happening. It’s not happening at Michigan State or anywhere else as universities and teams scramble to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“A couple days ago like when we all started to recognize it's probably going to get canceled,” Seybert said, “it was just a lot of frustration.”
When news started to trickle out last week that schools were canceling their pro days, Seybert even made a plea on Twitter, saying he’d go through drills in a hazmat suit.
The frustration was clear, and it was understandable coming from Seybert. He didn’t get an invite to the NFL Combine like seven of his teammates did, and after suffering an MCL sprain in preparation for the Pinstripe Bowl in late December, he was unable to play in any of the all-star games to help put on a show for the scouts.
So pro day was Seybert’s big day, one he was looking forward to after watching many of the workouts from the Combine on television.
“Having to sit at home, watching the tight ends going through the combine knowing that ... I personally believe that I should have been there with a chip on my shoulder. Just like thinking to myself that some of the guys in the combine had less receptions and stuff like that than me, and so it just naturally created a chip on my shoulder. So, I was looking forward to turning some heads on this pro day and for it to be canceled was really frustrating.”
Seybert is used to taking the road less traveled, so finding another way to impress scouts might work out OK for the Traverse City native.
After redshirting his first season at Buffalo, Seybert decided he wanted to pursue his dream of playing at Michigan State, transferring in as a walk-on. He sat out 2016 after the transfer and appeared in only eight games over the next two seasons, primarily on special teams.
After a move to defensive end in spring practice in 2019, Seybert was back on offense to start the season and saw his role increase after Matt Dotson was lost to injury. He made the most of it, catching his first two career touchdowns in a win over Northwestern and securing a scholarship for the remainder of the season. He finished the season with 26 receptions for 284 yards and three touchdowns, while also being named Academic All-Big Ten.
He was hoping to build on those numbers with a solid pro day, but now he and his former Michigan State teammates are relying on faith.
“At first, we were all pretty mad,” Seybert said. “But we put it in perspective and guys like Darrell Stewart were saying, ‘It’s gonna work out. It will all work in our favor. If you can play, you can play and the NFL scouts will see that.’ So at first we were pretty disappointed we won’t get to show our stuff, but we all know it's gonna work out.”
All seven Michigan State players that participated in the combine — Stewart, quarterback Brian Lewerke, linebacker Joe Bachie, wide receiver Cody White, defensive end Kenny Willekes, defensive tackle Raequan Williams and cornerback Josiah Scott — as well as safety David Dowell, defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk, linebacker Tyriq Thompson and cornerback Josh Butler were expected to be at Michigan State’s pro day.
All will be looking for other ways to get in front of scouts now.
Seybert said on Monday that a group of players had organized a workout for Wednesday that would be professionally filmed and distributed to NFL teams. However, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that exercise facilities and gyms were among the businesses that were being forced to close by Monday afternoon, that left the group without a place to hold the workout.
So, it’s back to uncertainty for Seybert. His facility in Cincinnati is closed, as are the football facilities at Michigan State.
“I'm doing it day by day right now,” he said. “I guess I’ll just find somewhere else, really anywhere in the country that lets me train. I don't want to stop trying. I can't stop training right now. So I'll just find somewhere to go and just go.
“You gotta have faith in God and know it will all work out, no matter what.”