Join Date: Sep 2006
Re: Philadelphia Eagles Offseason/Draft/Free Agency News
**** it. Dont want to go searching for the draft thread so I'm just gonna brag about this mutha ****er here.
All American in Track and Field and Football. Nations best returner last year.
WAYNE, N.J. — When Michael Ray Garvin was about 6, he ran in a street race in Brooklyn against his schoolmates. Not paying attention, he had his back turned and was goofing off when the race began.
Garvin, an all-American in football and in track and field, has posted times of 4.24 and 4.28 in the 40-yard dash.
“I turned around, and everybody had already started,” Garvin said. “So I just ran, and I caught them all and won the race.”
Fifteen years later, he got off to another slow start. An all-American in football and in track and field at Florida State, Garvin was not invited to the N.F.L. scouting combine in February in Indianapolis, where the top prospects were measured and scrutinized by league scouts, coaches and executives.
But on March 16, at Florida State’s pro day showcase in Tallahassee, Garvin once again caught up to the competition, then passed everyone.
The best time recorded in the 40-yard dash at the N.F.L. combine was 4.30 seconds by Darrius Heyward-Bey, a wide receiver from Maryland. Garvin beat it twice in Tallahassee, posting times of 4.24 and 4.28, numbers he said were rounded up from 4.18 and 4.22 to compensate for hand-held timing devices.
There is not a lot that can happen in 12-hundredths of a second. Light travels about 22,000 miles, and a human eye can get about a third of the way through one blink. But in that barely perceptible span of time, Garvin became an intriguing N.F.L. prospect.
“If there were any questions about his speed,” said Charley Casserly, a former Redskins and Texans general manager who is now an analyst for NFL.com, “I’m sure he cleared that up with that time in the 40.”
Garvin, a cornerback, is not considered a top prospect, and his agent, Mark Lepselter, said he was not sure if Garvin would be selected in the middle rounds, late rounds or any round. He may have to wait and try to sign as a free agent, then impress the team at training camp. Casserly says teams want their special-teams players to have more than one skill, but if that player is truly exceptional at something like kick returns, they may take a chance.
Casserly pointed to Jerome Mathis, a speedy wide receiver he signed for the Texans as an undrafted free agent from Hampton University in 2005. Mathis made the team (and the Pro Bowl) almost solely for his superb return ability, though he played only 17 games in three seasons because of injury.
“He was 7 points a game,” Casserly said, “whether it was a touchdown return or just great field position. Guys like that are so special, teams will keep them for just returning kickoffs.”
Garvin, a seven-time all-American sprinter, was second in the nation in kick returns last season, averaging 30.1 yards with one touchdown in 22 returns. But despite his world-class speed and muscular upper body, Garvin did not play much on defense last season, a situation he attributes to his attempt to make the United States Olympic track and field team last spring.
He qualified for the trials, and made it to the semifinals of the 200 meters. But he said the pursuit of his Olympic dream prevented him from going to spring football practices. He said he had assurances from Coach Bobby Bowden during a recruiting trip that track would not hold him back.
“I remember when Coach Bowden came into my living room,” Garvin said. “He said I could play football and run track without any consequences. So I went to the defensive coordinator, Mickey Andrews, and he said: ‘O.K., that’s fine. But it’s going to hurt your playing time.’ ”
Indeed, when Garvin showed up for two-a-day practices in the preseason, he was fourth on the depth chart at cornerback and never started after starting eight games as a junior. Despite his frustration, he called the disappointment a “miscommunication,” and said it enabled him to focus more on kick returns.
“I kept my mouth shut and became the No. 1 kick returner in the nation,” Garvin said. “I do not regret running track. In fact, I think it helped me, especially my speed. It actually helped put me where I’m at right now, which is basically having the best speed in the draft right now.”
Does he think he is as fast as anyone in the N.F.L.?
“Yeah,” he said. “I think so, because there’s not a lot of guys in the N.F.L. who have run track.”
Probably the most famous track star turned football player, Bob Hayes of the Dallas Cowboys, was elected this year to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Still, at 5 feet 8 inches and 182 pounds, Garvin may be deemed too small to defend big receivers, although there is no doubt he has plenty of upper-body strength.
This month, Garvin was at a sports facility in Wayne preparing for Sunday’s Texas Relays — he was on the winning 4x100-meter relay team — with Kevin Ensenat, Garvin’s trainer since he was a freshman at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. Giants receiver David Tyree, a Super Bowl star, was also there to work out with Ensenat. Tyree looked at Garvin’s extremely defined physique and shook his head.
“His body speaks for itself,” Tyree said. “He’s more than capable athletically. He’s one of them combine freaks, and that’s what they like, when guys time out well and then can live up to it. He’s got the stuff that it takes.”