Johnson's 40-yard record holds up at NFL combine

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INDIANAPOLIS --- Titans running back Chris Johnson spent part of Sunday monitoring whether his record 4.24-second 40-yard dash would hold up a second year at the combine.

Ex-Clemson star C.J. Spiller ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine Sunday in 4.37 seconds. Current Tennessee Titans' running back Chris Johnson holds the record at 4.24 seconds.  Darron Cummings/Associated Press
Darron Cummings/Associated Press
Ex-Clemson star C.J. Spiller ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine Sunday in 4.37 seconds. Current Tennessee Titans' running back Chris Johnson holds the record at 4.24 seconds.

It did.

Johnson's biggest fear, as he wrote on Twitter, was Clemson's C.J. Spiller , considered the best running back in the draft. Spiller ran a 4.37, not even the fastest time at his position. That distinction went to California's Jahvid Best , who clocked a 4.35.

The closest to breaking Johnson's mark was Spiller's former teammate, receiver Jacoby Ford , who ran a 4.28 on Sunday. Louisiana State University return specialist Trindon Holliday ran 4.34 seconds on Saturday.

EYE-POPPING: Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes came to Indianapolis knowing one question would come up repeatedly.

How do you explain what happened in last fall's eye-gouging incident?

On Sunday, he shared his answer with the media. He'll have to wait until April to see if NFL teams are willing to accept the explanation.

"I just told them (scouts) it was the SEC, Florida and Georgia," Spikes said. "It's a big rivalry game and there's a lot of emotions going on. I just felt like, if you go back and look at that film, both sides were taking shots at each other."

FORGET BASEBALL: Stanford running back Toby Gerhart hasn't created much buzz at the combine even though he was the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

At 6-feet and 231 pounds, some are questioning which position he's better suited for: a feature runner or fullback.

Gerhart thinks he's built in the mold of Eddie George and Corey Dillon , a power runner. But he's willing to do both.

"I firmly believe I have the skill set to play running back," he said. "I threw in a little wiggle every now and again, but I'm a physical runner."

Gerhart won't be taking another page out of Deion Sanders ' playbook, though. He's decided to give up baseball.

CABLE GUY: Oakland coach Tom Cable thinks the best thing for his quarterback situation is a competition.

That means former No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell will have to win back his old job.

"I have not put a lot of thought into this at this point," Cable said when asked about naming Russell the starter. "JaMarcus is working and doing the things he should be doing right now. He'll get himself prepared to compete for the job. I think that's the only way to look at it."

DEFENSE RULES: Ndamukong Suh thinks he should be the No. 1 pick.

Gerald McCoy and Eric Berry both contend they should go first, too.

Suddenly in the quarterback-driven NFL, defense is becoming all the rage.

Early draft projections have Suh and McCoy, defensive tackles, going among the top four picks. Berry could join them in the top five, and none of the three defenders are shy about making their cases for who is the best.

Those three are presumably battling a pair of quarterbacks, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, to become this year's draft lottery winner.

History does not bode well for the defenders.

Quarterbacks have gone first in nine of the past 12 drafts. The last defensive tackle to go No. 1 overall was Cincinnati's Dan Wilkinson in 1994.


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