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The 40 yard dash

In American football, for most positions, speed is very important, and the most common measure of speed for players is 'the 40', i.e. how fast a player can run 40 yards from a standing start. This is shorter than sprinters in athletics will run because it would be very rare for a football player to have to sprint for more than 40 yards.

The draft newsletter I have in front of me lists the unofficial 40 yard dash times for all of this year's leading draft-eligible players. The fastest time listed is 4.38 seconds (Clemson running back CJ Spiller) and the second fastest time is 4.45 seconds by several players.

The reason I mention this is that today it has been reported that former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green today ran a 4.43 40 yard dash.

Now what is quite amazing is that a retired player with no real reason to keep himself in peak fitness should be able to run faster than 21 and 22 year olds whose draft status depends very much on how fast they run in the various draft workouts in the next few weeks.

What is really amazing though is that today was Darrell Green's fiftieth birthday.

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