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Pitt's Revis makes dashing impression

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Darrelle Revis doesn't know the origin of the 4.54-second 40-yard dash time that circulated on NFL Draft sites, considering he never ran it.

Not at Aliquippa High School.

Not with the Pitt Panthers.

"I knew I was faster," Revis said. "That's just a prediction. They say you run this or that. When it's your time to shine and perform, you perform at your best."

Revis did just that Friday at Pitt's Pro Day at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex indoor facility on the South Side. Now, the only time that matters is the one recorded on stopwatches by the 40-plus NFL personnel who clocked him in the 4.36- to 4.41-second range.

Revis' exact 40 time is inconsequential. The median (4.38) would have ranked among the top 5 at the NFL Combine, a split second ahead of Michigan's Leon Hall (4.39). More importantly, Revis solidified his status as a first-round pick and, possibly, the top cornerback in the NFL Draft.

"He made money," said Neil Schwartz, Revis' agent. "The NFL teams knew (he could run). It's the gurus on the Internet that had times not reflective of his speed and ability. He never had a junior day, so I don't know where it came from, but that time has been sitting with him.

"He's the best corner in the draft class. All teams need shutdown corners, and he's a special corner."

Those in attendance to see Revis perform included Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and secondary coaches Ray Horton (Steelers), Tim Lewis (Carolina Panthers) and Teryl Austin (Arizona Cardinals), among others. Secondary coaches for the Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints interviewed Revis after his workout.

They came intrigued by the two-time All-Big East Conference selection and nephew of another former Pitt star and No. 1 draft pick, Sean Gilbert. "You watch tape and video of players, but you still want to see their raw speed," Smith said. "It's safe to say he's a scholarship player."

Revis is expected to be the first Pitt cornerback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Lewis was chosen 11th overall by the Green Bay Packers in 1983. Lewis said Revis' performance only confirmed that belief.

"My scout said he ran fast, so I didn't ask the time," Lewis said. "I could tell he was moving. It didn't take him long to finish the 40, I can tell you that.

"I know he's a very good football player. I watched him on videotape and graded him highly. I think a lot of him. I think he's a good person. I talked to a number of people I trust, and they all give him high marks on character."

Although his character hasn't been questioned, his judgment was after Revis elected not to participate in running or position drills at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, citing a strained hamstring.

"Basically, it was about competition, coming out here and showing what I had to do," said Revis, who credited his training with Brett Fischer in Phoenix for preparing him for Pro Day. "I went to the NFL Combine and made some friends, but I was focused on my combine, and my combine was today. That's the only thing I was focused on, going out there and showcasing my talent.

"I worked hard out there and it paid off today."

Notes: Linebacker Clint Session, who wasn't invited to the NFL Combine, made a strong impression on scouts. He was measured at 5-foot-10 12, 236 pounds and ran in the 4.6-second range in the 40-yard dash. "That was the goal," Session said, "to come out here and make somebody want me." ... Linebacker H.B. Blades wasn't thrilled with his performance, but the Big East Defensive Player of the Year believes his draft status will be determined by his play. "I knew I wasn't going to run ridiculously slow, but I knew I wasn't going to be running 4.4s, either," Blades said. "I am what I am. I'm a football player." ... Quarterback Tyler Palko did not run but threw passes to a receiving corps that included his brother, Luke, a former St. Francis (Pa.) star.

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