Not surprising. Just as a copmarison, I ran the 40 in 4.7 as a senior in high school.
INDIANAPOLIS -- When running back Maurice Clarett met the media earlier this week, he said he was in the best shape of his life, that he would do all the workouts at Saturday's NFL scouting combine and that he'd make an impression on NFL coaches and scouts.
"I'm going to slap on my shoes," he promised, "and whatever I run I'm going to walk away."
Well, at least he got that right.
Clarett bombed out at Saturday's workout by running two 40-yard dashes that could have been clocked by sundials. Then, as promised, he walked away. He didn't do the cone drills or agility drills or bag drills or passing drills that should have followed. He simply quit the field without an explanation.
"I guess he was tired," said one scout in mock jest.
One NFC coach said he was "shocked" by Clarett's performance. You would be, too, if you saw him run two 40s in 4.72 and 4.82 seconds. Those were the unofficial times of the NFL Network, which televised the workouts, and they were generous. One club had his fastest time at 4.78, while another clocked him at 4.91.
It doesn't make much difference whom you believe. All times are slow, too slow for a running back you might have considered taking in the first day of the April draft.
"Shoot," said one NFL official, "if a guy works out a year and I can beat him, he's not very good. He just went from a possible third-rounder to a possible free agent. Somebody will give him a shot, but he just cost himself a lot of money."
Clarett didn't run at last year's NFL scouting combine and, judging by Saturday's results, that was a smart move. But he had no choice this time around, especially with not playing the past two years, and he promised to do whatever he could to convince clubs he was in mint condition and serious about making it to the pros.
Well, he failed.
"This is a business," said one scout, "and he understands it more than anyone now."
That doesn't mean he can't recover. He has another workout scheduled for March 8, but how much faster do you become in two weeks? I don't know, either, but for Clarett's sake it better be faster than he is now. Just a hunch, but look for him to push back the date to maximize his chances for improvement.
"Obviously, we're disappointed with him," said Clarett's agent, Steve Feldman, "but we will have a private workout, and there will be improvement."
Coaches and scouts who watched Clarett agreed the former Ohio State star will play in the league and that some club may take a flier on him late in this year's draft, but that's about as far as the certainties extend.
"I don't know if he can block," said one NFC scout. "I don't know about his quickness. I never saw him run through a bag. At that speed, you're looking at someone who could be a 240-250 'hammer' type of back -- a guy with strength -- but I don't know if he's that guy.
"I don't know anything about him. I mean, what else can he do besides run? I don't know if he can play special teams or if he can catch, but I do know one thing: Based on what I saw today, he's not going to be your runner."
Detroit offensive coordinator Ted Tollner was more compassionate, cautioning listeners not to write off Clarett because of one performance. There's a whole lot of videotape out there, he said, that tells a different story about the guy.
"It's still a game of football and not measurables," said Tollner. "All this does is make you re-evaluate him. There is too much stock put in measurables, anyway. To me what this does is wave a red flag."
Arizona coach Denny Green sounded a similar signal, saying, "We didn't really know how fast Maurice Clarett was before he didn't play. You give him the ball, and he can run with the football." One problem: That was two years ago, and what we know of Maurice Clarett now is what we saw of him at the RCA Dome on Saturday.
And that was awful. So awful that when Clarett's times were read to one NFC executive, he stared in disbelief.
"You've got to be (kidding) me," he said. "I can't remember the last time a back ran that slow here."
I can't either. But while Clarett was disappointing, his performance could make him a late-round steal for a club willing to take a chance on a back with more quickness than speed. That's the upside. The downside is that those dreadful times will push him deep into the draft or completely out of it.
"It was a tough day for me," a disconsolate Clarett told the NFL Network. "I've been working for this for a long time, and it's extremely frustrating. I had a year to work on it, and that's the most frustrating part. To go out there and mess it up puts me in the tank a little bit. I can't explain it."
He doesn't have to. He just has to correct it. And fast.