“But everybody goes to St. Elmo’s. Getting a reservation, you almost have to, like, know somebody.” (TMZ used to camp in front of the restaurant hoping to catch someone coming out drunk on red wine and football.)
The steak house is something of a crossroads of the combine, where ousted football personnel come to reignite careers and relationships, agents float trade possibilities and contract figures, and team executives gather to set the course of their franchises.
St. Elmo “becomes an extension of the N.F.L. combine,” said Craig Huse, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, Steve. Huse noted that the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Cincinnati Bengals Coach Zac Taylor, the agent Tom Condon and Goodell all frequent the place.
Dimitroff said the steak house wasn’t where deals were completed, but rather where the seeds of the league’s trades, signings and, of course, draft picks were planted. “It’s more breaking the ice a little bit and being comfortable with someone and continuing to talk,” Dimitroff said. “So later you can have that business conversation.”
One dinner in 2019 stands out for Dimitroff. He, Blank and Quinn discussed two major personnel decisions that precipitated his firing. The three men went into that year’s combine intent on improving the team’s offensive line and, by the end of that dinner, had zeroed in on drafting two linemen: Chris Lindstrom, whom they picked 14th overall, and Kaleb McGary, the 31st selection.
Lindstrom has evolved into one of the best guards in the league, making his first Pro Bowl this year, and McGary just had the best season of his career, proving to be one of the league’s top run-blocking tackles.