Eight Pitt players worked out before prying eyes yesterday in the South Side indoor facility, but the nearly 100 people who attended -- mostly NFL coaches and scouts, along with Panthers teammates, players' families and other interested Pitt parties -- essentially came for a single purpose.
See Darrelle Revis run.
Make that: See Darrelle Revis run fast.
The Pitt junior cornerback from Aliquippa, who declined to participate in NFL Combine tests a month ago because of a hamstring twinge, impressed the stopwatch-toting folks yesterday with two 40-yard dash times around 4.40 and 4.39 seconds, depending on the timepiece. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt estimated that 60 pro-scouting types attended, and they exited with an even more glowing synopsis of a cornerback already listed as a late first-round prospect with a projected 40 time of 4.53.
"That's a prediction," Revis barked yesterday. "I knew I was faster. When it's your time to stand and perform, perform at your best. That's what I did today. My Combine was today."
Revis, who maintains that he never ran a 40-yard dash against a watch at either Pitt or Aliquippa, sprinted through the only apparent hole remaining on his NFL prospect resume.
"It's safe to say he's a scholarship player," teased coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears.
"Nobody went away disappointed, put it that way," said Arizona Cardinals secondary coach Teryl Austin, a former Pitt defensive back, Sharon native and Seattle Seahawks assistant in Super Bowl XL.
"Explosive," added Carolina Panthers secondary coach Tim Lewis, another former Pitt player and one-time Steelers defensive coordinator. "Ran fast."
Revis, who opted to forgo his senior season, said his practice 40s in Arizona all hovered around the range of high 4.3s, low 4.4s. By completing the feat in front of a bevy of defensive assistants and scouts yesterday, the 6-foot, 197-pound cornerback likely fattened his future wallet and ascended higher in a draft, where he is often ranked no worse than second-best in a relatively weak cornerback class.
Smith -- long ago a Tulsa linebacker recruited by the Pitt assistant who coordinated this Pro Day, Bob Junko -- was already impressed with Revis from videotape and his prospect studies.
"Anytime you can score five different ways in high school, it means you're athletic a little bit," Smith said.
Yet Smith said he also left yesterday's workouts with a raised impression of Pitt linebacker Clint Session, who, along with linebacker H.B. Blades, ran in the middle-high ranges -- 4.6 to 4.7 seconds.
"That was the goal: to come out here and make somebody want you," said Session, who is similarly afflicted with a vertical challenge like Blades, both measuring around 5-11 in a game that still treasures size.
Quarterback Tyler Palko, who attended the Combine with punter-kickoff specialist Adam Graessle, seemed to show a strong arm to the few offensive coaches at the Pro Day. Also working out for the scouts were Pitt center Joe Villani, defensive back Reggie Carter and placekicker David Abdul, who iced down his kicking-leg hamstring afterward.
Former Panthers and NFL quarterback Alex Van Pelt was present in his capacity as a Buffalo Bills assistant. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, secondary coach Ray Horton, defensive line coach John Mitchell, special teams coach Bob Ligashesky and pro personnel director Doug Whaley were also seen among the crowd.
Chuck Finder can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1724.