40-Yard Fails: The Most Embarrassing 40-Yard Dashes in NFL Combine History

From the NFL superstars who proved that struggling during their time at the Combine isn’t the end of the world, to those individuals who launched themselves into infamy with a bad spill, here are the most embarrassing 40-yard dashes in NFL Combine history.

40 Yard Dash

Image via Getty/John Robbins

40 Yard Dash

The 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine is just a strange event. It basically has little to no bearing on your NFL career as long as you stay within the expectations that come with your position. However, a substantial difference in time in either direction—whether that be faster and slower—can greatly impact your draft stock. With that being said, the drill matters… and doesn’t matter at the same. 

For some athletes, one slip-up of just a couple seconds in their 40-yard dash time can cost them a higher spot in the draft and millions of dollars or even worse, a potential spot on an NFL roster. From those prospects, like Tom Brady and Antonio Brown, who have experienced potentially detrimental failures while running the 40 only to come out better once they got their chance and entered the league to the players who weren’t as lucky and allowed one bad run to dictate their entire future in the NFL Draft, the 40 has proven to be a double-edged sword.

Instead of focusing on the athletes who blew away their field with an impressive showing of speed, we’re going to take a look at the worst of times for these NFL prospects. The ones who took part in the 40 only to wind up regretting their decision on the end.

Here’s a roundup of the most embarrassing 40-yard dashes in NFL Combine history, for your sadistic viewing pleasure.

1. “The Hummer Is Out”

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Player: Chris Jones, Mississippi State defensive lineman 

Year: 2016

When you look up “embarrassing 40-yard dash moments at the NFL Combine,” former Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones is the first thing you see. Jones launched himself into infamy just two years ago, when his junk popped out of his shorts as he ran his 40.

Sports Illustrated caught up with Jones one year after the incident took place. “I looked down and the hummer is out,” he recalled. “I try to cover it up. I'm thinking to myself, ‘little kids are watching.’” Jones tried his best to tuck it all back in after he took a spill, but the damage was already done. Little kids and adults have been scarred for life.

2. And It’s Over, Just Like That

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Player: Vick Ballard, Mississippi State running back

Year: 2012

Prospects falling during the 40-yard dash is a natural occurrence. Typically, though, the spill happens right when the athlete is about to or has passed the finish line. Basically, the opposite of what happened to Vick Ballard during his 40 at the Combine.

Just as Ballard was about to kick it into high gear, he was sent sprawling off the course and crashed into a nearby tripod. On his next and final attempt, Ballard ran a 4.65, which made him ranked 16th out of 25 running backs. Ouch.

3. Nobody Is Perfect

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Player: Tom Brady, Michigan quarterback

Year: 2000

Tom Brady is living proof that NFL teams shouldn’t take anything that comes out of the Combine to heart. Brady’s 40 time of 5.28 seconds still stands as the slowest among active quarterbacks in the league today. However, for signal callers, their success ultimately depends on their arm and what’s between their ears. Tom has proven to be exceptional in both of those categories, and that’s why he’s a five-time Super Bowl champion. Screw the Combine.

4. A 40 With Little Bit of Danger

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5. That’s One Way to Slow Yourself Down

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Player: Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse safety

Year: 2013

Who knew Shamarko Thomas had a built-in break for when he wanted to decelerate after reaching his top speed at a moment’s notice? All jokes aside, this fall looked painful, and would’ve really benefited from a superimposed video of Peter Griffin clutching his knee in pain.

6. Run Rich Eisen Run

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Player: Rich Eisen

Year: 2016

A list of embarrassing 40-yard dash moments wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Rich Eisen. In this clip, Eisen took on 405-pound Baylor tight end LaQuan McGowan, and lost. Regardless of McGowan’s large frame, he’s surprisingly fast and when the two squared off, the Baylor product put up a time of 5.48, while Eisen was edged out with a 5.94.

Embarrassment is nothing new for Eisen when it comes to the 40, but even when the odds seem to be in his favor, they aren’t.

7. The Worst of the Worst

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8. Adding Insult to Injury

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Player: John Ross, Washington wide receiver

Year: 2017

JOHN ROSS!!!! 🔥@UW_Football WR @WatchJRoss runs 4.22u 40-yard dash.

(cc: @chrisjohnson28) https://t.co/kkeUVDIMeQ

— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2017

This was the year Adidas ran a contest during the Combine that promised a prospect an island (valued at $1 million) if he broke the record for fastest 40 time. John Ross ran a 4.22, eclipsing the previous mark of 4.24 held by Chris Johnson. So, he has an island to his name, right? Nope.

When he broke the record, Ross was wearing Nike cleats when he was required to wear the 2017 adizero 5-Star 40 cleat. Therefore, he was ineligible to receive the island, regardless of how things played out. Hey, at least, he got a Nike deal out of the mess.

10. Nope

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Player: Manti Te’o, Norte Dame linebacker

Year: 2013

They say one look can mean a thousand words, but in the case of Manti Te’o in his 40-yard dash, the look by Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh says one thing, loud and clear: nope.

11. Clarett Taps Out

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12. Antonio Brown’s Revenge

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Player: Antonio Brown, Central Michigan wide receiver

Year: 2010

If you’re looking for proof of how much one bad 40 time can weigh on a player, look no further than Antonio Brown. In 2010, AB ran a 4.47 at the Combine. Since then, Brown’s career has worked out as well as it possibly could; six years later, he posted a tweet with an update on his improved 40.

Ran a 4.35/40 today.

— AB (@AB84) May 24, 2016

While Brown’s poor 40 may have taken a toll on his psyche and competitive spirit, he has turned into one of the best and most consistent wideouts in the league today, hauling in 100 passes each of the last five seasons. At this point, who cares about a bad 40 time? Clearly, Brown still does.

13. Trust Your Instincts

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14. Teez Tabor and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 40

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Player: Teez Tabor, Florida defensive back

Year: 2017

The only thing you need to know about how embarrassing Teez Tabor’s 40 time is this tweet:

Myles Garrett - 6'4, 274 lbs: 4.64 40 yd dash
Teez Tabor - 6'0, 201 lbs: 4.63 40 yd dash


— Ty (@HandsTeamTy) March 6, 2017

Myles Garrett is a physical freak of nature, but he’s also four inches taller and 73 pounds heavier than Tabor. The former Florida cornerback just barely edged out his 40 time? C’mon man!

15. Never 40-ing Again

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16. Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

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17. Loud and Clear

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18. Slow-Footed Suggs

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19. No Speed, No Problem

Imag of Anquan Boldin

20. Not So “Fast, Fast”

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21. Wrong Place, Wrong (40) Time

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22. Once Upon a Time, Before Drew Brees Became Drew Brees

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23. What’s in a Name?

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24. To 40 Or Not to 40?

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25. Pick and Choose Your Battles

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Player: Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin offensive lineman

Year: 2012

Sometimes, the most embarrassing part of competing in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine is actually taking part in the event in the first place. Coming out of Wisconsin, Josh Oglesby was considered a solid offensive lineman. However, one of his main issues was his six previous knee surgeries.

When Oglesby ran the 40, he put up a time of 5.8 seconds, which led teams to question whether his knees were impacting his quickness and hinted at a possible problem down the road. He ended up going undrafted.

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