Don't believe 4.19? â€˜The film speaks for itself'
When Northern Iowa WR Terrell Sinkfield ran a 4.19-second 40, his week changed in an instant.
By TYLER MASONFS North
The buzz surrounding Terrell Sinkfield's blazing 40-yard dash has died down a bit since the former Northern Iowa receiver ran it in 4.19 seconds Monday at the University of Minnesota's pro day.
The last few days, though, have been "crazy" for Sinkfield.
Since roughly the time Sinkfield slowed to a stop Monday, his story was seemingly everywhere — from TV to the Internet … even Forbes was writing about Sinkfield. Once the news spread, Sinkfield received "hundreds" of phone calls, text messages and tweets — more than he could count.
"It's been kind of crazy just seeing my name out everywhere, TV and all the newspapers everywhere," Sinkfield told FOXSportsNorth.com on Thursday. "I've just been looking at it. It's been kind of surreal. I'm just getting back to working out and everything's starting to calm down now."
Pro athletes even took notice, including former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson and Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson — the latter of whom ran the fastest electronically timed 40 in Combine history with a 4.24 back in 2008. His response via Twitter to a link about Sinkfield's performance? "Stop watch homie," Johnson tweeted, sounding a bit skeptical that someone could best his time.
The other Johnson, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots during his 11-year career, threw his support to Sinkfield, who has long admired Johnson as a player. Johnson tweeted to Sinkfield: "Don't be star struck boss I'm accessible 24/7 to all walks of life ... It's an even playing field with me ... see you soon."
"That was kind of crazy because I had tweeted at Chad Johnson before a few times, asked him to work out and never really got a reply. Then I finally got him to tweet at me," Sinkfield said. "I didn't really know what to say for a minute. I just sat there and thought about it, like, 'Chad Johnson is really tweeting me.'"
Though Sinkfield's pro day was impressive — he also had a vertical jump of 40.5 inches and a broad jump of 11 feet, 5 inches — there were plenty of skeptics questioning the accuracy of his 40-yard dash. His time of 4.19 seconds was confirmed to the media by Sinkfield's agency, AMI Sports. But Scott Studwell, the Minnesota Vikings' director of college scouting, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his stopwatch didn't clock Sinkfield quite that fast.
"He ran in the high 4.3s," Studwell told the Pioneer Press. "He can run. He ran fast. He tested well."
Others online have questioned the legitimacy of the hand-timed reading, including ProFootballTalk.com, which said Sinkfield's time of 4.19 "doesn't pass the smell test." Then there was BusinessInsider.com, which broke down video of Sinkfield's run frame by frame — and actually timed him at 4.16, a split-second faster than the original time of 4.19.
When asked about the skeptics, both Sinkfield and his agent, Mitch Chargo, are saying they stand by the film.
"The tape is out. I'm not disputing it or saying any specific time," said Sinkfield, who had 43 catches for 499 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at UNI. "I'm just back to training and hope to run fast again."
Added Chargo: "I would say that the film speaks for itself. Secondly, I would say that regardless, this young man is a competitor and has world-class speed."
Sinkfield's time of 4.19 came during his second attempt in the 40 after his first run was clocked at 4.27 seconds. Scouts on hand couldn't quite believe what they saw on their stopwatches after his second run, so they had Sinkfield run one more time. Despite a slight stumble, he still crossed the line in 4.41 seconds for an average of 4.33.
When Sinkfield takes part in Northern Iowa's pro day on March 27, he believes he can be faster. Not necessarily faster than 4.19 seconds but consistently faster in his runs.
"I just feel like those runs weren't my best runs. I'm blessed to just have those great runs and whatever times they came out to be," Sinkfield said. "That was the memo I just wanted people to see. Me going to Northern Iowa to run it again is just to let people know it wasn't any fluke. Regardless of the time, I know I can do better than I did."
There were just 13 NFL teams represented Monday at the University of Minnesota's pro day. Give the intrigue Sinkfield generated with his performance, there's a good chance a few more scouts may grab their stopwatches and head to Cedar Falls later this month.
"I've had contact from some teams who I know have expressed interest in coming down to see (him)," Chargo said. "My expectation is that you're going to get a full load of teams down there who are wanting to experience this first-hand."