Shutdown Corner - NFL

CARSON, Calif. -- My time at Athletes Performance has been outstanding in that I've been able to spend time with some of the greatest pro and college football players in a very different element — the usually closed-off environment of the training facility. I've also talked with some of the best athletic trainers in the business, and I'll be doing more of that for Shutdown Corner in the near future.

Occasionally, inspiration gets the best of you. While having dinner on Wednesday night with Travelle Gaines, the Big Kahuna of API's football training, I happened to mention that I'd always wanted to run a legitimate, electronically timed 40-yard dash at a professional facility.  Of course, since I have the body of a professional sportswriter who keeps forgetting to go to the gym, Travelle thought this would be a hoot. So, on Thursday afternoon, after he finished his training session with Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Travelle turned his attention to me. He had his staff set up the timing machines for the 10-yard split, and the 40-yard destination.

As Rich Eisen of the NFL Network has always done, I eschewed the trappings of athletic attire — no advantage for me. I did switch into an API T-shirt, but it didn't make me any faster. I did have one advantage that Mr. Eisen cannot claim — Mr. Bowers took it upon himself to not only tape the action using my flip-cam, but to also provide exclusive blow-by-blow narration of this debacle.

Now, before you watch my three 40-yard dash attempts and laugh yourselves into a stupor (which would be entirely appropriate), it should be known that the weather in Los Angeles has been uncharacteristically rainy in recent days. That explains the tumble I took in the first attempt, though it can't explain much else. Taiwan Jones of Eastern Washington, who has drawn his fair share of Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles(notes) comparisons from the draft cognoscenti (yours truly included), has been running 4.3 40s on this same track of late.  But he's a world-class runner, and I … am … so … very … not.

Ah, the humiliation of the non-athlete. I'm buttressed by the hope that Eisen also ran a 6.7 40 his first time out, and he's now closer to six flat. I'll be working to do the same.

It shouldn't take more than a few years. And the subtraction of quite a few pounds.

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