Injured RB Lattimore gets cheers from NFL scouts
Marcus Lattimore stood silently in front of the mesh,
ladder-style workout mat in South Carolina’s weight room, ready to
show the NFL how far he’s come since his horrific knee injury five
”I was a little nervous,” the ex-Gamecocks running back said.
”But excited, too, that I could do this.”
Lattimore did a series of exercises designed to demonstrate the
progress of his surgically repaired knee. He dislocated the knee
and tore several ligaments against Tennessee at Williams-Brice
Stadium last October.
He did step-ups, box jumps, deep-knee bends, forward and
backward lunges and one-legged balancing drills while holding
weights for a group that included Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati
Bengals, the only head coach at the workouts.
Lattimore received a loud cheer from former teammates and
coaches, and evaluators from the 31 NFL teams attending Wednesday’s
Later on, Lattimore caught passes with running backs and
receivers – although he walked out to a designated spot to catch
the simple throws from former South Carolina passers Syvelle Newton
and Seth Strickland.
He hopes he answered enough questions to gain a spot in next
month’s NFL draft.
”They’ve seen me move a little bit. They’ve seen me use my
feet, use my knee,” he said. ”My knee’s fine. I think
everything’s going to be all right.”
It didn’t look that way five months ago. Lattimore had returned
from a left-knee injury during his sophomore season and was among
the Southeastern Conference’s top rushers heading into the game
with the Vols.
But Lattimore’s season ended in the second quarter when he was
tackled at the end of a run. His right leg flopped over like a rag
doll’s limb and trainers had to keep pushing Lattimore’s head down
and chest back down to keep him from seeing the damage.
Players from Tennessee joined South Carolina teammates in
wishing Lattimore well before he was driven off the field in shock.
He was considered a first-round NFL draft pick prior to the injury.
Lattimore’s given up worrying about where or if he’ll go in the
”I’m not even going to watch,” he said. ”I’m just going to
wait for my phone call” from an NFL team.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier thought Lattimore’s workout
was remarkable given how badly damaged the knee was. In Spurrier’s
eyes, it put Lattimore back in the running to hear his name called
early by an NFL team.
”You’d think he’s 100 percent,” Spurrier said. ”He was very
Lattimore was happy with his limited workout – although he
pushed his doctors and agent to do more. ”It just wasn’t smart,”
Lattimore was among 18 former Gamecocks working out for NFL
teams. Early entry receiver Ace Sanders, the Outback Bowl MVP who
gave up his senior season, thought he improved on his NFL combine
40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds and wowed scouts by field a punt
while holding three footballs.
”I’d never done that before,” Sanders said.
Sanders said Lattimore’s path back to working out at all was the
biggest feat of the day.
”Oh, my gosh, you thought it was over,” Sanders said of his
ex-teammate. ”What he’s done shows the kind of person he is.”
Lattimore was eager to lead his teammates even if he couldn’t
run full-speed. He was constantly clapping and encouraging,
shouting ”Good job, D.L.” after receiver D.L. Moore ran a deep
pattern during drills.
Lattimore knows he’s got more work to do. He won’t hold a
personal pro day as he planned back in January instead letting his
meetings with teams at the NFL combine and here, along with
progress reports from his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, make his
He has met with Philadelphia and has individual interviews set
up with New England and St. Louis. He has a sponsorship agreement
with EAS Nutrition that both sides hope can become a long-term
Lattimore is confident he can play in the NFL this year. He’ll
have his knee examined by NFL personnel in Indianapolis on April
5-6, then wait for the draft.
”Once I get on a team, I’ll prove myself and prove that I’m a
complete back,” Lattimore said. ”I’ll be in full health so I’ll
be good to go.”