For all those who wonder what a track guy might run in a football 40y…here’s some food for thought from David Showers of the Northwest Arkansas Times:
Running at Arkansas’ pro day earlier this month was a serious endeavor for all involved, save one.
For former Fayetteville High and University of Arkansas sprinter extraordinaire Wallace Spearmon Jr., it was merely a lark. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4. 28 seconds on the track inside the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion during Arkansas’ second pro day April 4, but his agent said Spearmon has no designs on putting football ahead of his track career.
“ I don’t think he was serious about it, ” said Ray Flynn, president / ceo of Flynn sports management. “ He just went out there and did it on a whim. He has no plans on entering the NFL Draft [this Saturday ].
“ Wallace is one of the best runners in the world. He has the World Championships this year in Japan, the Olympics next year and the World Championships again in 2009. He’s very serious about winning gold medals. ”
Spearmon, a three-time NCAA champion in the 200 meters, has forged an impressive pro career that includes a silver medal in the 200 meters at the 2005 World Indoor Championships and a gold medal in the 200 meters at the 2006 USA Outdoor Championships.
His personal-best time of 19. 65 in the 200 meters is the third-fastest time ever recorded. Only Michael Johnson (19. 32 ) and Xavier Carter (19. 63 ) ran faster. Spearmon said he doesn’t want to interfere with his primary source of income.
“ I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that, ” Spearmon said. “ So I’m going to hold off and stick with the bread-winner for now. ”
Spearmon was an All-State receiver for Fayetteville High and still entertains ideas of playing.
“ I just like it, ” Spearmon said. “ There’s just something about the atmosphere and the game itself. It’s so different from track. Football is a team-oriented game and in track you have to be selfmotivated. Both have their pros and cons. It’s like North and South poles. They’re totally opposite. ”
He said his favorite football memory was catching “ a dump pass” from quarterback Woody Wilson against Russellville.
“ I broke a few tackles and ran 60 yards for a touchdown, but we still lost the game, ” Spearmon said.
However, if a team were to take a flier on Spearmon, even in the early rounds, he said he wouldn’t offer his services. He’s confident that his window to play in the NFL isn’t limited to this year.
“ If I’m drafted on the first day this year, it will most likely be the same in ‘ 08, ” he said.
He decided to run at the pro day after talking with Tony Ugoh, a former Arkansas offensive lineman and member of the UA track team, the night before.
“ I was hanging out with Tony Ugoh and he said he was going down there, ” Spearmon said. “ So I decided to go hang out with him and see what I could do. ”
Spearmon wasn’t allowed to run in the track spikes he brought and had to change into shoes less conducive for speed.
“ They weren’t really running shoes, ” Spearmon said. “ They were Nikes but they were heavy shoes. ”
He said he could’ve posted a time more in line with fastest recorded 40-yard dash, a 4. 13 while wearing spikes on the Walker Pavilion track.
“ I’ve run faster before, ” Spearmon said. “ I wasn’t really ready. It was just for fun. I probably could’ve run faster if I had trained for it. ”
Making the transition from track to football is a metamorphosis few have been able to pull off, said Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN’s draft analyst.
“ A lot have tried but the names of those who have made it are few, ” Kiper said Wednesday during his media teleconference. “ A lot of guys can run track and do those types of things but football is a very different entity. ”
Kiper said Spearmon’s name has not been mentioned in any talks he’s had with NFL teams. Spearmon is enrolled as a junior at the University of Arkansas, studying kinesiology. He attends classes in the fall and pursues his track career during the winter, spring and summer.