Added to all else he already is, John Ross is a man of his word.
Friday inside the Indiana Convention Center, the former Washington Huskies’ wide receiver said he was going for Chris Johnson’s NFL combine record of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Johnson, the eventual 2,000-yard running back with the Tennessee Titans, set that mark in 2008.
Saturday, across the street inside Lucas Oil Stadium, Ross did this:
This was Johnson’s reaction to Ross breaking his record:
And get this: “I feel like I could have run faster,” Ross told NFL Network on the field after his zoom. “I cramped up at the end.”
Ross said his cramps felt “really tight,” perhaps the result of dehydration. He did appear to limp across the finish line and then after it, bending over and grabbing at his lower legs.
“But,” Ross said with a grin and a shrug, “I’m thankful.”
He should be. That sound you may be hearing from Indianapolis back to Seattle is of cash registers ringing for Ross.
He was the buzz of this combine even before his epic sprint. Many believed he would be among the first 15 players selected in April’s draft. That would mean tens of millions of dollars with guarantees that would make Ross forget he ever had two knee surgeries that cost him his 2015 junior season at UW.
Now, this, the fastest 40 ever record at the NFL’s scouting summit, in a league and position that values speed as the ultimate weapon against a defense’s press coverages and pass rushers.
“Speed,” Ross said on Friday. “That’s what separates me.”
Within hours of his record sprint, Nike announced it had signed Ross to an endorsement contract. Yes, Ross was wearing Nike Vapor 4.2s when he ran 4.2 on Saturday.
Because he wasn’t wearing adidas when he set the record, Ross won’t get the private island the shoe company had promised any prospect who broke the 40 record at this combine -- while wearing adidas shoes, that is.
Ross showed elite wit when he reportedly said Saturday after missing out on the private island: “I really can’t swim that well, and I don’t own a boat.”
Oh, Ross also showed his lethal explosiveness broad jump. His measured 11 feet, one inch. That is the fifth farthest jump at the combine since 2003.
Even with shoulder surgery scheduled for March 14 -- Ross said Friday ther recovery will take months but he will “definitely” be ready for the start of the NFL season in September -- yeah, his decision this winter to leave UW following his junior season is about to pay off.