Slimmer Cody, ailing McClain work at pro day

Terrence Cody showed NFL teams he had the willpower to shed
excess pounds, while Rolando McClain demonstrated his willingness
to push through health issues.

Mount Cody, a two-time All-America nose guard, weighed in at 349
pounds at Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday with representatives from
all 32 NFL teams present. Cody continues to trim down as the NFL
draft approaches.

He has dropped 22 pounds since the Senior Bowl and another 6
since the NFL combine two weeks ago.

“I just motivated myself after all the critics said after the
Senior Bowl that I’m not going to do it, I’m not disciplined,”
said Cody, who is aiming for 340. “I took that kind of personally.
And I came to the combine light and showed up today light. It’s a
big difference.”

Cody, McClain, cornerback Kareem Jackson and guard Mike Johnson
were among the group of players from the national championship team
auditioning for scouts.

McClain ran the 40 Wednesday after pulling out at the combine
with a nagging hamstring problem that he said he had quietly
battled since the Tennessee game.

He was clearly hurting at the end of position drills with a
flare-up of Crohn’s, a form of inflammatory bowel disease he was
diagnosed with as a high school freshman.

“My Crohn’s was acting up again,” said McClain, the only one
of the Tide prospects regarded as a sure first-round pick. “I’ve
been struggling with it the last two or three days, but I just
wanted to go out here and still run no matter what the circumstance
was.”

The hamstring problem was nothing new for the Butkus Award
winner, though he had kept it quiet even from his teammates.

“I’m still not quite 100 percent, but I wanted to go out and
show these 32 teams that I could run,” McClain said.

The result, he said, was a 40 time “somewhere in the 4.6
range,” but he is aiming to cut it down some more in additional
NFL workouts on campus this month.

“At 6-4, 259, 4.6 is fine, but I know I can run a 4.5,”
McClain said. “I’ve run it before.”

Cornerback/return man Javier Arenas was just a spectator with a
hamstring injury while Jackson stuck with his combine performance
and only went through position drills.

Head coaches Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, John Fox of
the Carolina Panthers and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets were on
hand for the pro day.

Count Alabama coach Nick Saban among those impressed by Cody’s
weight. He had practically dared him during the season to reach
that level.

“I told him he could play on the rabbits (passing situations)
here if he could get to 348,” Saban said. “I picked 348 because I
knew in my mind he would never get there, so I was real happy to
see him get there today.”

Or at least real close.

Cody said the key was being disciplined in his eating habits and
doing “at least two hours of cardio” during his workouts.

“The main thing is you’ve got to be motivated,” Cody said.
“You can say you’re going to do it and then you get out there and
it starts getting hard, you’re going to quit.”

He has been projected mostly as a second- or third-round draft
pick, particularly after his hefty weight at the Senior Bowl in
January.

Cody has battled weight questions during his two seasons at
Alabama, despite those All-America honors. He was mostly a first-
and second-down player who came out on passing situations. He was
also a lead blocker in goal line situations on offense.

The positive feedback has raised his hopes of making a dramatic
move in the draft April 22-23.

“I’m thinking first round, probably Top 10, Top 15,” Cody
said. “I feel like I kind of shocked a lot of people today and at
the combine.”

He’s not giving up hope of joining top prospects invited to
attend the draft in New York.

If the invite doesn’t come,” he joked, “I’ll probably be at
coach Saban’s house having my draft party.”