Clowney blazes path at combine

Former South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL combine in Indianapolis. His time of 4.53 seconds bested all defensive line prospects.

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Former South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL combine in Indianapolis. His time of 4.53 seconds bested all defensive line prospects.

INDIANAPOLIS — A day after South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney raised eyebrows by disappointing in the bench press at the NFL scouting combine, his performance in the 40-yard dash caused jaws to drop at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The 6-foot-5, 266-pound Clowney posted an official time of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash Monday, the fastest among defensive lineman at this year's combine. Only one other defensive lineman bettered 4.6 seconds: Bloomsburg defensive end Larry Webster, 6-5 and 252 pounds, at 4.58.

According to nfl.com only two linebackers had faster times than Clowney: Kevin Pierre-Louis (4.51) of Boston College and Telvin Smith (4.52) of Florida State.

But Clowney's blazing time didn't eliminate questions about his work ethic. Sunday, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times, below average for his position. Then he passed on participating in on-field position drills Monday after finishing second in the vertical jump (371/2 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches) among defensive linemen. He told NFL Network's Willie McGinest that he was dealing with a tight hip flexor.

Does Clowney think scouts and evaluators will view his choice to sit out position drills as a negative?

"I doubt it," Clowney told NFL Network. "Some of the guys were like, 'That's all right. Just get ready for pro day. We expect you to do all the drills at pro day.' Which I don't have a problem with. I'll be ready for my pro day (April 2)."

Missouri's Michael Sam, trying to become the first openly gay player in the NFL, posted an unofficial 40 of 4.79 seconds and did 17 reps, according to NFL.com. NFL Network reported the time was 4.91. Combined with his standing in other drills, he likely has not moved up from a mid-round projection.

Workout pleases Bortles: Former UCF quarterback Blake Bortles said he was encouraged by his combine performance.

He threw in drills on Sunday, and told the Orlando Sentinel he felt his performance validated the decision to compete in the pressure-packed workout.

"On the field, I thought I did really good," Bortles said. "For the most part, it went well and I put the ball where I wanted to. … Everything so far has been positive feedback and that it was a good decision to throw and I helped myself."

Report overblown, Dolphins rep says: John Denney, the Dolphins' two-time Pro Bowl deep snapper and union representative, voiced opposition to the findings in the Wells report, which was ordered by the league in the wake of the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal.

"This whole thing nauseates me," Denney said, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Denney, speaking after participating in the Jason Taylor Celebrity Golf Classic, said he didn't think it was necessary to read the 144-page report.

"Ted Wells can go into any one of the 32 teams in the entire league and he's going to come out with the same investigation, same results, from my perspective," he said.

The nine-year veteran went on to say, "I was bullied as a rookie, everyone I've seen has been bullied as a rookie.''

Around the league: Raiders special teams standout Taiwan Jones signed a three-year, $4.355 million extension through 2017. … The Bears re-signed safety Derrick Martin and center Taylor Boggs for one year.

Clowney blazes path at combine 02/24/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 11:21pm]

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