In most circumstances, the length of an NFL player’s career is strictly determined by their output on the gridiron.
The major investments franchises commit to their players mean that they all do their homework before offering a contract. At the Scouting Combine, rookie hopefuls are tested in various categories that prove they’re amazing athletes. However, how high a guy can jump or how much he can bench rarely gives much insight into how he’ll play in the highest level professional football has to offer.
It’s easy to see why some franchises fall in love with players based on their combine workouts despite their game film being only average. Some of the talents these men display given their larger-than-life size is enough to make you shake your head in disbelief, and in awe.
Despite being one of the biggest athletes in the NFL, Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie (6-8, 360 pounds) drew criticism prior to training camp last season for failing his conditioning test.
Chances are, McKinnie could beat you in a foot race.
On the defensive line, Terrence Cody isn’t nicknamed “Mount” for nothing. Cody has drew criticism for his weight (6-4, 349 pounds) but that doesn’t mean he has tremendous talent. To conclude a practice during training camp last season, Cody and tackle Michael Oher each had to field a 55-yard punt from Sam Koch. Oher positioned himself under the towering kick, making the catch.
Cody did it one-handed.
Then there’s running back Ray Rice, who is 212-pounds of solid muscle (now 216 pounds when wearing his Super Bowl ring.) Rice is in top physical condition, but initially drew criticism because he looks like a kid in high school playing with grown men while on the field.
Rice is and always will be 5-foot-8. There’s nothing he can do about it, but he’s proven a lot of doubters wrong.
Speaking of high school, Rice wasn’t just a running back, he was a kicker too. This video was taken from Ray Rice Day back in May. As I was about to interview Rice to help promote his foundation and charity work, he put his punting skills on display for those in attendance.
Rice stands from the 50-yard line and boots a perfect spiral off his foot, launching the ball out of the back of the end zone.
Let’s just say that if Sam Koch accidentally pulls a hamstring during the game and cannot kick, we may now know who head coach John Harbaugh may turn to.
Once again, I’m shaking my head in disbelief.