Who knew sprinting was worth millions?

Alex Harkaway
I went running today. I haven’t done it in years, but right now, I am far too motivated to stop. I am not running to get in shape or to lose weight or gain stamina. I am doing it to improve my 40-time, because I know if I can ace the forty-yard dash, there will be a multi-million dollar salary waiting for me from the NFL’s biggest fool, Al Davis.
Al Davis is the 79-year-old owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders. His history of drafting players based on speed and speed alone has perplexed many for years and has led to some very questionable draft selections. One example of his poor decision-making is when Davis picked safety Michael Huff, seventh overall in 2006, after he posted an impressive 4.36 40-yard dash time. Huff has struggled ever since and this year was benched in favor of a defensive back named Hiram Eugene (who?). As a result of their puzzling drafting strategy, the Raiders have not won more than five games since 2002 and routinely finished last in one of NFL football’s weakest divisions in. And yet, Al Davis has not once revised his tactics or learned from his mistakes. His struggle became evident this year when he made his biggest blunder yet: throwing away the seventh pick of the 2009 draft by selecting receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Heyward-Bey posted mediocre results at Maryland, never once going more than 1,000 yards receiving. He was neither near the top 10 on any NFL analyst’s draft board nor was he considered the top receiver available by anyone, outside of Davis himself. Yet, Heyward-Bey ran the 40 in a stirring 4.30 seconds, the fastest time any player posted at the combine this year. So, when it was the Raiders’ turn to make a selection at the draft, Davis passed over a slew of more proven, more talented football players (including two-time Biletnikoff Receiver of the Year Award winner Michael Crabtree) and made Heyward-Bey his newest
I was unable to reach Al Davis to comment on this column, but here is, in my best estimation, the Oakland Raiders drafting and
scouting procedure.
First, Davis demands that his scouts and coaches disconnect their televisions and throw away their newspapers every Saturday during college football season so they won’t be accidentally exposed to any game footage that might display how players performed at the collegiate level.
That way, the Raiders would never be tempted to draft someone with twice as many receptions and nearly four times as many
touchdowns as Heyward-Bey, such as Crabtree. Next, Davis demands that his scouts and coaches each cancel their Internet service so none of them will ever glimpse a mock draft or an NFL expert’s draft board. This will ensure that none of them will have second thoughts about drafting a player seventh overall while there were a good dozen other players, including Michael Crabtree, who were ranked higher on every legitimate draft board. Then, Davis sends all his scouting and coaching personnel to the combine, equipped with the world’s finest and most accurate Rolex stopwatches, and has them take down the 40-times of every prospect. Whoever posts the fastest time gets drafted. It is quite possible that, now that John Madden has retired, Al Davis is the only senile man in football.
On the field, I may lack size, intelligence, experience and production. Heck, I can barely even earn any playing time in intramural football. Yet, I know I am just a 4.29-40-time away from striking it rich. So if you are like me and wouldn’t mind pocketing the $10-15 million signing bonus Heyward-Bey is going to receive from Al Davis, I have two words for you: Start running.