Eighteen competitors. Three first-round heats. The top eight scores advance to the semifinals. Two semifinal heats with four runners apiece. The top four times advance to the finals. This could be done over a 2-day span Pro Bowl weekend. The NFL combine does the 40, but for this competition, we’d do the 100 meter dash.
After much web-surfing, here’s our field of 18:
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles – He’d be our favorite. Ran a 4.29 40 at Cal.
Lee Evans, Buffalo Bills – His fastest 40 time in college looks to be 4.44.
Ted Ginn, Miami Dolphins – Record-setting (nationally) sprinter and hurdler in high school; his best 100-meter time appears to be 10.2. Best 40 time: 4.27.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders – Maryland track standout in high school; Terps’ record-holder among receivers in the 40; ran a fleet 4.3 in the 40 earlier this year.
Donnie Avery, St. Louis Rams – Ran a blazing 4.2 40 at the combine in 2007.
Allen Rossum, San Francisco 49ers – Would he still have it at 33? In high school in 1993, he ran the 100 in 10.02; at Notre Dame, he was an All-American in the 55 m race.
Devin Hester, Chicago Bears – Has a 100 speed in the Madden video game, so obviously he’s a favorite to reach the finals.
Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos – Ran a 4.28 40 at the combine … in 1999. Probably a longshot here due to his age (31).
Michael Bennett, San Diego Chargers – One of the oldest competitors (31), but was a State track champ in high school Wisconsin, and ran track as a Badger. Personal bests: 10.18 in the 100 and 10.66 in the 200.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh Steelers – Best time in the 40 is 4.23; with his injury-ridden history, he’d pull a hammy and miss the following season.
Brian Witherspoon, Jacksonville Jaguars – Who? Cornerback allegedly ran a 4.16 40 once, which would make him one of the fastest players in league history.
Jacoby Jones, Houston Texans – Claims he can run a 4.24 40.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans – His 4.24 speed at the combine in 2008 was the best ever for a running back. If Vegas were setting lines, he’d be the favorite. (Best 40 time at the combine we’ve been able to find: Darrell Green of the Redskins – 4.15.)
Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints – Only ran a 4.33 40 at the 2007 combine, but since our race is the 100, Bush is definitely in the mix.
DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins – As legend has it, he won the contest in 2005 at the Pro Bowl, even though he wasn’t initially part of the contest.
Johnny Knox, Chicago Bears – Speed at the 2009 combine is all anyone knows this guy for – 4.34 in the 40.
Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings – One of the greatest high school athletes in the history of Virginia sports – hoops, football, and track, where he won the 100 m and 200 m races as a senior – he only ran a 4.41 in the 40 at the 2009 combine.
Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers – Didn’t impress with his speed at the combine at 2005 – 4.5 40.