NFL Combine rocked by rising prospect’s medical discovery

Utah defensive lineman Lowell Lotulelei says Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst Jr. told him Saturday that he had been diagnosed with the same heart condition as Lotulelei’s older brother, Star.

The comments came shortly after ESPN.com first reported Hurst will not be allowed to participate in drills.

Word leaked just after defensive linemen and linebackers started talking to reporters at the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.

I just found out in the NFLPA meeting that we just had. He just said, ‘Star was your brother?’ And I said yeah. He’s like, ‘Man, I just got the same thing that he did,’ Lowell Lotulelei told reporters. Obviously I didn’t go through it, so I don’t really know what he’s feeling like. But I kind of understand the disappointment just because my brother trained just like he trained and you’re expecting one thing and getting another. I feel for him. It sucks. But I think he’ll be fine just like my brother was.

Five years ago, Star Lotulelei arrived at the combine as the expected first pick in that year’s draft.

Things changed dramatically after doctors identified an abnormal test on his heart.

Lotulelei then sought additional opinions, eventually was cleared to exercise and was taken by Carolina with the 14th overall selection in the 2013 draft. He has missed only four games in five NFL seasons.

The Jets have the money to spend. The question now is whether they can find enough players worth spending it on. That is the problem with NFL free agency — the players who usually become free agents do so for a reason. They have a flaw that makes them expendable to their current team, whether that be age, salary demand or production. It is what scares some teams off from spending big in free agency.

The Jets know they will end up overpaying players in free agency, but they can do that because of the war chest they currently have. The benefit of drafting so poorly from 2008-14 is having very few young players who need to be paid. Leonard Williams figures to be the next one, and he is not scheduled to hit free agency until 2020 if the Jets exercise his fifth-year option.

The Jets have targets in mind, and they hope to find players who can stick with their team for several years. That starts with quarterback Kirk Cousins, whose agent will surely get a call from the Jets on Monday to set up a visit with the top free agent. After Cousins, GM Mike Maccagnan will be looking for younger free agents who can be part of the core of the Jets.

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