TUCSON, Ariz. — Ka’Deem Carey met with the local media on Thursday after the school’s annual pro day workouts and offered no information about his time in the 40-yard dash.
"I just ran hard to tell you the truth," said Carey, Arizona’s two-time All-American running back.
Would you expect anything else? It’s who he is and what he does, and Carey hopes those things — and a few intangibles — help him get drafted high in NFL’s May draft. He’s projected to be a third-round pick.
Time, of course, is of the essence. Or at least is the front-and-center topic for Carey, who last month ran a surprisingly slow 4.7-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. The fastest times for running backs at combine the last few years have been 4.3 to 4.5 seconds.
Carey, Tucson’s hometown hero and a graduate of Canyon del Oro High, is putting the time behind him. Negativity will only slow him down.
"I’m happy with what I ran," he said. "I’ve got great game speed. I play football and am not a track star."
Duly noted. Speed, however, thrills. So did his moves on game days. And for the last two years — and parts of his first year at Arizona — he did thrill, rushing for a school-record 4,239 yards and 52 touchdowns.
"The best thing is just to turn on the film and watch him play," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez of his suggestion to NFL scouts.
Rodriguez said he wasn’t surprised by the combine time.
"He may not ‘wow’ you with his numbers or drill work but when you turn on the film, there is no one better."
Quarterback B.J. Denker saw it first-hand. As did linebacker Jake Fischer, two more former Arizona players who participated in pro day.
"I tell everybody that he’s not a show pony, he’s a workhorse," said Fischer. "He’s a football player. What you don’t want is him on the other side because if he is he’s going to get you. He’s the guy you game plan against."
Denker said that repeatedly last season, but also admitted Thursday to a bias, but "anyone can see how great he is."
"To be honest I don’t even think he needs to go through this process," Denker said. "Turn on the film and in my eyes he’s the best running back in the country … him not even being in the top five (by a NFL draft prognosticator) is (crazy). (They say) he doesn’t do everything great but good. (What) consistency is bad nowadays in the football world?"
Carey said he’ll live the scrutiny on the time; he also understands the questions — personal and otherwise.
"They’re going to put money on you so they need to know everything about you," he said.
So, he talked about the good (his work ethic and personality) and the bad (his off-the-field problems that got him a one-game suspension to start last season).
"I had no problems talking about anything," he said. "I talked about everything. I felt everybody needed to know what goes on. They are investing in me so I have to tell them everything. It was great. They understand a lot of things."
Now, comes the proof he can play at the next level so he’ll keep working, he said.
And continue to hope they see his resume: game film. He’d like to go to a team that "wants to win. I strive for championships," he said. "I want to be surrounded by a group of men that want to be hungry and to achieve their goals."
His former teammates have those same goals. Among them were Denker, Fischer, Marquis Flowers and Tevin Hood. All want to prolong their careers as much as possible.
"I just tried to fling the ball as well as I could," said Denker, who rushed for a school-record 949 yards by a quarterback. "Hopefully, I’ll get another opportunity. A couple of the scouts came up and said, ‘good workout today.’ But nothing (else was said) major."
Can he play in the NFL?
"I have no idea," he said. "Everyone told me I couldn’t play in college so, hey, maybe if someone told me I can’t play in the NFL that will jinx me to be able to. I’ll play anywhere."
Hood wanted to prove he’s fast for his size, 6 feet and 315 pounds, and that his height "isn’t an issue. He ran 5.02 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
"Measuring under 6-foot as an interior d-lineman is like (having) an asterisk next to your name," Hood said. "As long as you can perform and show you have the skills to do the job then it’s not a big deal."
Thursday it was. And for many all their years of hard work come down to a quick time and technique, running and jumping.
"It’s crazy to think about, all the hard work you’ve put in over the years and all the injuries and healing and hours in the weight room comes down to this — a three-hour session on the field," Hood said. "But it’s cool to see it all come to fruition."