|A.C. Leonard ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine on Saturday.|
The 40 yard-dash has been known to make or break pro prospects. A.C. Leonard sprinted the distance in 4.43 seconds, the fastest of any tight end at the NFL Combine on Saturday. That speed has opened up a lot of eyes to the Tennessee State star’s potential as a professional. It has also put the spotlight back on his troubled past.
AC Leonard at 252 pounds running a 4.50 is VERY impressive. Had him borderline draft able, but that puts him in the draft IMO
— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) February 22, 2014
Leonard was a highly sought after recruit coming out of Jacksonville, FL. He eventually chose Florida, where he had a solid freshman season in 2011. Leonard left Florida in the spring of 2012 after he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor battery count after his girlfriend accused him of violently attacking her. He eventually found his way to Tennessee State, where he became a big-time player on the FCS level, catching 85 passes for 11 touchdowns in two years.
Now that his 40 time has put him back in the public eye, the “character” question has resurfaced.
“His performance on the field at Tennessee State showed that he has NFL talent, and his 40 time today reinforced that. The question is whether his on-field talent outweighs his off-field problems.” –Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk
Leonard attempted to mute those concerns at the combine, where he had this to say to reporters:
“Everything happens for a reason. Yeah, I regret getting into an altercation with a female — that’s not who I am,” Leonard said at the NFL Combine. “But in the end, I feel like (learning from the situation) made me a better man. I think people are saying I have no discipline and that I don’t work hard. But I feel like I am a great person. I just had to grow up a lot.”
That’s a good, solid start to the type of questions Leonard will have to answer between now and the draft in May. One thing is for certain, outrunning his past will be a bigger challenge for Leonard than his 40 time.