I caught about 15 minutes of “Forrest Gump” last night on AMC. What a great damn movie. A slow-witted war hero from Small Town, Ala., who masters the game of ping pong, gets in early on some Apple stock, owns and operates the most successful shrimping business in the country, knocks up the hometown hottie on the first try, and can run like the fucking wind–what a story, what a guy. Oh, and what a football player.
I tuned in right after the movie covered Forrest’s time with the University of Alabama football team, where he earned All-American honors and the privilege of meeting the president. He had blinding foot speed that literally brought Head Coach Bear Bryant to his feet one day during practice as he evaded neighborhood bullies (in a truck!). It’s unclear whether Forrest played a position other than kick returner for the Crimson Tide, but he was the best in the nation at returning kicks; that much is clear.
Forrest’s football prowess unfortunately ended after college, as he traded in the shoulder pads for an M16 to mow down Viet Congs on the battlefield. He put country before football, because Forrest is a damn fine American. You can’t help but wonder, though–he was an All-American at Bama, so surely his game translated to the NFL, right? What if he entered the NFL Draft? What kind of prospect would he be? What kind of numbers would he put up at the combine? Which round would he go in? What position would he play?
I’ve got the answers.
The NFL Combine
Forrest set the NFL Combine record in the 40-yard dash–currently held by Bo Jackson with a non-laser time of 4.12–with a mind-bending 4.01. This makes him the fastest football player in history, even to this day.
Forrest proved to be more of a straight-line speed guy, as agility drills got the best of him. Hindered by a childhood affliction known simply as “crooked spine,” Gump meandered his way through the three-cone drill like an old man strolling to his curbside mailbox.
Gump clocked a 9.1 in the three-cone, put up 225 pounds just twice on the bench press, and recorded a 26-inch vertical. Again, the low vertical was on account of the crooked spine affliction.
Gump tested through the roof on intangibles. As evidenced by his steadfast dedication to his military brethren, Forrest is a loyal comrade. Potential to be an outstanding locker room guy, he’s very much the lead-by-example type, who teammates look to for inspiration. He speaks with his actions, not his words. Actually, he doesn’t do much speaking at all.
Grasping the playbook would probably be too much for him to handle, however. We’ll get to that soon in the “Wonderlic Test” portion.
His incredible, God-like physical condition deserves some mention, too. Forrest ran across the United States an astonishing three and a half times, drawing a herd of inspired followers, only stopping to eat and sleep. He ran for no reason at all. Just felt like running.
He was in such outstanding condition, in fact, that he could answer questions from news reporters while running, as if he was standing still. Dude wasn’t even breathing heavily, even with more than 6,000 miles logged on foot.
Forrest’s agent filed a special exemption to place him out of the Wonderlic Test, citing an undiagnosed learning disability that we later came to find out was a tinge of autism. It was accepted by the NFL front office. Therefore, Forrest never recorded a Wonderlic score.
He wasn’t a smart man.
Being essentially a straight speed guy with poor lateral movement, the inability to turn his hips, the lack of cognizance in diagnosing plays and reacting to them, a severe reading comprehension problem, and the fact that he has a rather delicate frame, Forrest is best suited as a kick returner and occasional deep threat at wide receiver. He also has a gentle disposition, ruling out the defensive side of the ball altogether.
Forrest would be slated for the latter rounds of the draft. He projects to return kicks and see minimal snaps at wide receiver. He doesn’t project to have a lengthy career in the NFL.