Coronavirus has halted sports across the world, causing major uncertainty and heartbreak among athletes, coaches and many others.
For former Kahuku and Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman, as well as the rest of the 2020 NFL Draft class, those sentiments are no different. Cancellations and delays during the draft process have come at times where some schools were particularly close to holding their pro days. Notre Dame’s pro day was set to take place Wednesday on campus in South Bend, Ind. before getting canceled.
For Gilman, the work didn’t stop after his March 1 performance at the NFL Pro Scouting Combine, and it won’t stop now either. He is now back home in the North Shore after doing his pre-combine training in Dallas.
“Obviously it’s been a shock to everyone. Especially as an athlete, you’re preparing for something and things like pro days getting canceled, visits with teams. It’s been a little weird, kind of hard to react to it, honestly,” Gilman told KHON2. “The foremost thing you gotta do is take care of your body. That’s the first thing you need to do.
“After that, we’ll figure out all the details but just continue to train, continue to take care of your body and be smart about the things that you’re doing.”
Gilman, like all other athletes who had their plans altered these past few weeks, was disheartened by the news of COVID-19’s effects on sports. By the same token, he’s grateful that he was able to build his pro profile to the extent that he has at this point. He also feels for current college athletes, especially when considering he was one himself just a few months ago.
“I definitely feel for those athletes. Obviously being a former college athlete, you have a lot of respect for those guys because you know how much work they’re putting in for school as well. There’s so much that goes into it and people don’t understand how much work is put in prior to playing games or events or tournaments so to have that stripped away is tough to see. I feel for them for sure,” Gilman said. “I’m definitely grateful being on the other side where I was able to have a full season. Just having those memories as well like when you’re in the locker room. Those are special memories that you’re gonna definitely miss. That’s definitely a sad thing to see and I definitely feel for them. Hopefully they’ll be able to turn the page on that.
“For me with this whole process, I’ve been grateful and blessed enough to put my combine profile out there and get the opportunity. Pro days are being canceled and I have friends that have been training for pro days with no combine invite. For that to be canceled, they’ve prepared so long and hard for this and I understand the type of training they put in.
“It’s hard to see that as well and I know they’re frustrated but I gotta keep a right perspective on this whole situation because this is a lot bigger than sports. This is our health; this is our well-being. So I try to keep the perspective but I definitely feel for athletes and the pro guys who are getting opportunities stripped away or postponed at this point.”
If the combine was Gilman’s last pro audition, he left quite the final impression. His 3-cone drill of 6.81 seconds put him in a tie for second among all defensive backs, while his 20-yard shuttle of 4.08 seconds put him third among all defensive backs. He also ran the 40-yard dash at 4.60 seconds, while his 17 bench press reps of 225 pounds came after checking in at 201 pounds himself.
The final captured moment of Gilman on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was of him picking up trash off the field. The North Shore native says he was unaware the cameras were following him at that moment.
“I didn’t really notice it,” he said. “The rest of the state of Hawaii understands. It was a natural thing and a lot of people besides myself would’ve done the same thing if they were from Hawaii or raised in that background. It was kind of a crazy thing to see how that blew up. It was a cool thing just to represent myself as well as my parents and the state of Hawaii in general; who we are, what we’re about and just creating an example of service and respect for the things around you and I couldn’t really guess what was going to happen but it was a pretty cool thing to show and to see.”