It's the reality of football.
A player can break every record, win every award and do everything possible on the field, but if that stop watch doesn't have the right number on it, he's not playing in the NFL.
Limas Sweed understands that. He's one of the most prolific receivers in the history of Texas football, but Pro Day was his last chance to show if he has the capabilities to play with the elites.
“Wow. Three hours out of a day is going to determine everything I did from when I started football in the seventh grade until now,” said Sweed. “I thought about that last night. That's why I came here focused. This is like the National Championship to me. I came in focused, went in, did what I had to do, like we did against USC and came out with a victory.”
Victory is a good way to describe Sweed's performance. He put up a solid performance in all drills, but he shined in the highest profile of them all: the 40-yard dash. He stands at 6-foot-5, but he managed to run a 4.40 in the forty, improving on the 4.48 he put up at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Other players managed to help themselves with impressive numbers in workouts, notably safety Drew Kelson and defensive tackle Derek Lokey, who each were not invited to the Combine. Texas' Pro Day, often seen as a players' last chance, would be their only chance.
Kelson leaped an impressive 41.5 inches in the vertical jump and ran a 4.45 in the forty. Lokey's biggest impact came at the bench press, when he lifted 225 pounds 38 times. There is not a single player at the Combine who lifted 225 pounds that many times. Yet Lokey said he can do even better.
“I've done more in practice, in some post-workout drills. I think I was too fresh, too excited,” said Lokey, “but if you can have a bad day and hit 38, that's not a bad deal.”
Two of the biggest names at Texas' Pro Day were Jamaal Charles and Jermichael Finley, who both left school early for the NFL -- Charles as a junior and Finley as a sophomore who'd taken a redshirt year (players must be at least three years removed from high school before entering the Draft).
Finley ran the forty because he needed to improve on his relatively slow 4.82 time at the Combine. When he ran on Wednesday at Texas Pro Day, he managed to knock over two-tenths of a second off his time, clocking at a 4.60. Charles, on the other hand, ran a 4.38 at the Combine and decided to stick with that time, instead just going through positional drills for the scouts on hand.
It's been rare in Texas head coach Mack Brown's tenure on the 40 Acres that a player has left early, but Charles explained that, while there are some regrets, he's fulfilling a life-long dream.
“It's my dream to play in the NFL. That's why I wanted to leave,” said Charles. “I feel I had the opportunity to leave because I had a good junior year. I'm going to miss playing with those guys and I love my teammates a lot.”
The current Longhorns, the ones who are still on the roster and must wait another day for their shot at the NFL, resume practice on Thursday. Spring practice concludes with the annual Orange-White Scrimmage on March 29th.
Much more on Pro Day:
For Inside Texas members only, we break down Texas Pro Day and give who the top performers were, who made a big jump, who was drawing attention from specific NFL teams and much, much more.
Members Only: Performance Breakdowns and Info From Pro Day