MINNEAPOLIS — Terrell Sinkfield knew he was fast. The stopwatches timing his 40-yard dash Monday at the University of Minnesota’s pro day said he was fast, too.
Almost too fast to believe.
Sinkfield, a former wide receiver at Northern Iowa, clocked in at 4.19 seconds in his second attempt in the 40-yard dash. That’s faster than the NFL Combine record of 4.24 seconds, set by Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson in 2008.
So how on earth did Sinkfield do it?
“Just some determination,” Sinkfield said. “That was the expectation, really. Aim big. I was trying to get that 4.1.”
Because of his blazing speed on his second attempt, the 6-foot-1 Sinkfield was asked to run it one more time, something none of the other players did Monday. Despite a slight stumble, he still clocked in at 4.41 seconds.
Combined with his first attempt of 4.27 seconds, Sinkfield averaged a 4.33 despite his stumble in his third attempt. But it was his time of 4.19 that created plenty of buzz Monday at the Gophers’ practice facility.
“I knew it was good when I finished,” Sinkfield said of his 4.19. “I was pretty happy, so I came back. I thought I messed up when they said go again. I’m like, ‘Dang, why do I have to run again?'”
As a senior at Northern Iowa, Sinkfield led the Panthers in receiving with 43 catches for 499 yards and four touchdowns. His junior season, the speedy Sinkfield had 28 catches for 464 yards and six touchdowns.
Sinkfield wasn’t highly recruited out of Hopkins (Minn.) High School, where he played running back. He was also a sprinter for the Hopkins track team and ran the 100-yard dash in 10.86 seconds.
His speed wasn’t enough to draw many Division I offers. His hometown Gophers weren’t interested, so he committed to Northern Iowa. Monday, he was at the school that didn’t want him and turned plenty of heads in the process as scouts from 13 NFL teams were in attendance.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” said Sinkfield, who also had a 40.5 inch vertical at Monday’s pro day. “I feel like I could have hit it consistently. Me, myself, my personal best, I think I could have done better. It was still a good show here.”
After flying under the radar in high school and then at small Northern Iowa, Sinkfield came to Monday’s pro day with something to prove.
“I just feel like I deserved to be playing here,” Sinkfield said of Minnesota. “It was kind of like a dream to play for the Gophers growing up. I pretty much came here with a chip on my shoulder. It was pretty much the plan since high school that I was going to come here (to the pro day) and steal the show. …
“Hopefully I opened some eyes and got some interest.”
Former Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray shares the same agent with Sinkfield, and the two have been working out together prior to Monday’s pro day. Gray said he wasn’t shocked in the least by Sinkfield’s eye-popping 40 time.
“I already knew what it was going to be,” Gray said. “I see it every day. None of that stuff surprises me.”