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This guest post was written by Jay Hicks of Prerace Jitters.
The NFLâ€™s top candidates are hoping track legend, Michael Johnson’s sprinting wisdom brushes off on them.
Two of the draftâ€™s top running backs, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, are in a six-week training program for the scouting combine at the Michael Johnson Performance Center (MJPC) in McKinney, Texas, just north of Dallas.
A total of eight athletes have been working with MJ since mid-January in the specially tailored program to improve 40 times and agility.
A fat paycheck is at stake. Last year, Jamarcus Russell inked a six-year deal worth a cool $61 million as leader of the NFL draft.
The scouting combine, which takes place March 10 to 14 in Indianapolis, has little to do with football. Itâ€™s all about running from junk yard dogs, jumping over picket fences, and lifting compact cars.
Michael Johnson 40 Yard Dash Expert?
For the past six years, the five-time Olympic sprint champion, Michael Johnson has been teaching some of footballâ€™s biggest names how to prepare for combine at IMG academies. His past pupils include: Ladanian Tomlinson, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, and 50 other top draft prospects.
The biggest speculation floating around the MJPC is what endorsement deal McFadden will pick up. The suitors are making nice, thatâ€™s where the real money lies. Apparently, Nike is picking up McFadden’s training tab “as part of the shoe company’s sponsorship of the Michael Johnson Performance Center, sparking speculation that the Arkansas running back will sign an endorsement deal with Nike”.
Johnson added that as an official training center for Nike athletes, they will send us athletes year in and year outâ€.
The $20-million training facility designed for elite and youth athletes opened June 9, 2007. It has a small indoor track, indoor basketball court, artificial turf surface, and weight room. An outdoor track stadium is being built. Johnson reportedly is planning to host elite track meets at his new facility.
Bring your credit card. Eighteen individual sessions run $979.
About the Author
Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist is a former Missouri high school state champion at 400-meters, an all-conference 800-meter runner at Baylor University and trackâ€™s most snarky blogger.