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NFL Notebook: WVU's Austin combines speed, strength

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By Alan Robinson
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

Pretty fast, but not what he expected.

West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin turned in an official time of 4.34 seconds Sunday in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Marquise Goodwin of Texas ran an official 4.27.

Austin and Goodwin were unofficially timed at 4.25 seconds, which is about what Austin expected to run. The combine record is 4.24 seconds by Titans running back Chris Johnson in 2008.

The unofficial times by Austin and Goodwin prompted Johnson to post this Twitter message: “Hello world I woke up to some blazing speed at the combine.”

Austin is only 5-foot-8, but he also was the best weightlifter among wide receivers.

• All that speed wasn't confined to the guys who catch and run with the football. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith said before his workout he could be an effective runner in the NFL, and he appeared to back that up with an unofficial time of 4.56 seconds in the 40. For comparison's sake, Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and Russell Wilson of the Seahawks ran a 4.55 at the Combine.

• Ray Graham, the No. 2 rusher in Pitt history, is trying to follow former Panthers running backs LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis into the NFL. He went through on-field workouts Sunday on the glamour day of the combine, when the skill position players went through drills. Graham missed the BBVA Compass Bowl with a hamstring injury. “I know a lot of people doubt me, a lot of people see me, but they don't know I'm back yet,” Graham said. “I just want everyone to know I'm here to do everything, I'm healthy, I'm feeling good, I'm back.”

• Former Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu, kicked off LSU's team last season for failed drug tests, said Sunday he's been drug-free since October. “I know what it's like to be humiliated,” Mathieu said, adding, “I've been to rehab. I have counseling.” Mathieu is believed to have failed the tests because of marijuana use. “I hold myself accountable for everything I've done in the past year,” he said. “I'm not totally asking them to trust me right now, but what I am asking them is to give me a chance.”

• The Kansas City Chiefs badly need a quarterback. The 49ers have an extra one in former No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith. So there is plenty of speculation around the NFL that the Chiefs — who own the No. 1 pick in the April draft — might try to deal for the former 49ers starter.

— Alan Robinson

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