INDIANAPOLIS – Longtime Bears college scout Jeff Shiver received a prestigious honor Wednesday night at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Shiver, who has worked for the Bears since 1987, was presented with the inaugural C.O. Brocato Award for Distinguished Service to Scouting. The honor is named after an influential scout who spent 40 years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans organization and served as a mentor in the business.
"It's such an honor, it's beyond belief," Shiver said in accepting the award from the publication "Inside the League" at the Indiana Convention Center.
In Shiver's 33 years with the Bears—many of which he spent assigned to the Midwest region of the country—he has played a major role in the team drafting players such as safety Mike Brown, running back Anthony Thomas, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin and quarterback Kyle Orton.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace, who attended Wednesday night's award presentation along with the rest of the team's personnel department, lauded Shiver for his experience, passion and loyalty to the organization.
"We all lean on him and lean on that experience that he has," Pace said. "There's nobody more deserving of this award, and it's great to see him get recognized for all the hard work he's done for us."
Shiver, an Alabama native who has lived in West Lafayette, Ind., since 1982, looks and sounds like an NFL scout right out of central casting—complete with a Southern drawl, a quick wit, an easy charm and a self-deprecating demeanor.
"He just has a natural feeling for scouting," Pace said. "There's an instinctive aspect that comes into what we do, and 'Shives' definitely has that. He's very hard-working, but he has a way of keeping it fun, too. The network of connections that he has is immense for us. So as far as the background that he can gain on players, it's just tremendous for us as an organization."
Bears director of college scouting Mark Sadowski marvels at the relationships that Shiver has built and maintained over the years with some of the most recognizable college football coaches and athletic directors in the country.
"What makes him special is that he's as genuine as you could possibly get and he has one of the most unbelievable Rolodexes in college sports—a who's who of iconic athletic directors and coaches," Sadowski said. "He's on a first-name basis with them. He knows their wives' names. He's been to dinner with all of them. He's friendly with them all. He has great relationships. That's what makes 'Shives' 'Shives,' is his relationships."
Shiver is at his best when he's describing a prospect to other members of the Bears' personnel department.
"His recall of players that he knows goes very deep," Pace said. "Anytime a scout is presenting a player, you're trying to paint a picture to the room of who this guy is, and 'Shives' does a great job of that. And I think it's just from his experience and the number of players he's seen throughout his career."
"We are extremely lucky," Sadowski said. "He's constantly teaching the young guys. When he's reading a report, it can be two or three sentences, but he can paint the perfect picture of a player. So every day that he's in our meetings and he's speaking, it's a learning experience.
"It's kind of funny to see the younger guys. Sitting there listening to his words, they get this 'aha' look on their faces like, 'That's perfect and that's how you do it.' Short and sweet. It's not a novel. But he paints a perfect picture. That's just something that he's brilliant at doing."