By DJ Moore
I was not too fond of the NFL combine. Take that back; it was the 40-yard dash I hated. The first day at the combine, we were shoved into rooms with a roommate and given our rigorous schedules. Everyone was given a sweatshirt and sweatpants with a number on them—some of the greatest athletes from the nation’s top programs all in one place. A room full of athletes examining each other from afar. An NFL representative poked his head out of a door and called a couple of athletes into an office. Everybody’s head popped up, finally being able to put highlights they have seen with faces of other talented players they have watched on TV. I felt like I had seen every player’s highlights, and it gave me a sense of satisfaction to be able to connect faces with the players’ names.
One of my fondest memories was sitting in a room full of athletes and instantly making a friend. The young fellow was sitting across from me, and I think it was a pool table that separated us. We both looked at each other because we grinned and stood up at the same time to play pool. Joaquin Iglesias was his name, and we became instant friends. I had watched him tear the field up at Oklahoma and was a little starstruck that he was playing pool with me. As we played pool, we carried on a lengthy conversation until one of us was called to the other room. I was fortunate we got drafted to the same team and our friendship continued.
Let’s move ahead to the day I did not want to come. It was time to run the 40-yard dash. I knew I wasn’t faster than a 4.5 forty, and I knew I was not slower than a 4.6 forty, but the problem was at my size I needed a sub 4.5 forty. We hit the field, and you could tell nerves for everybody was high. I made a couple of bets for forty yard dash times to try to build a competitive edge in the 40 times. It didn’t work; I lost my money.
Finally, my number was called, and the guy gave me the rundown.I lined up with my paperweight pumas on.I crunched down, and I was ready to go. Surprisingly, I was feeling great.I put my hand on the line, raised it slightly and took off.I took about four steps and heard whistles. The guy yelled, “Stop stop!”He looked at me and said, “You moved slightly, so I stopped you.”My nerves kicked into overdrive, and the confidence I felt, before I took off the first time, was extinct for my restart. Even though he tried to speak confidence to me, my frustration silenced his words.
I took off again, and I just wanted to get it over with.I finished and rushed to my phone to see if they posted my times on the NFL Network, so my friends could tell me – but it wasn’t live.I knew it wasn’t fast, but I wanted to hear it myself. I finally got a text message saying I ran 4.5 something, and my spirits were crushed even though I knew I would that would be my time.I finished up with a great on-field performance, but none of that mattered. I was not fast enough.At least that was how I felt.
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