NFL Pro Day: Cody, ailing McClain work out at ’Bama’s pro day
By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Terrence Cody showed NFL teams he had the willpower to shed excess pounds, while Rolando McClain demonstrated his willingness to push through health issues.
Mount Cody, a two-time All-America nose guard, weighed in at 349 pounds at Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday with representatives from all 32 NFL teams present. Cody continues to trim down as the NFL draft approaches.
He has dropped 22 pounds since the Senior Bowl and another 6 since the NFL combine two weeks ago.
“I just motivated myself after all the critics said after the Senior Bowl that I’m not going to do it, I’m not disciplined,” said Cody, who is aiming for 340. “I took that kind of personally. And I came to the combine light and showed up today light. It’s a big difference.”
Cody, McClain, cornerback Kareem Jackson and guard Mike Johnson were among the group of players from the national championship team auditioning for scouts.
McClain ran the 40 Wednesday after pulling out at the combine with a nagging hamstring problem that he said he had quietly battled since the Tennessee game.
He was clearly hurting at the end of position drills with a flare-up of Crohn’s, a form of inflammatory bowel disease he was diagnosed with as a high school freshman.
“My Crohn’s was acting up again,” said McClain, the only one of the Tide prospects regarded as a sure first-round pick. “I’ve been struggling with it the last two or three days, but I just wanted to go out here and still run no matter what the circumstance was.”
The hamstring problem was nothing new for the Butkus Award winner, though he had kept it quiet even from his teammates.
“I’m still not quite 100 percent, but I wanted to go out and show these 32 teams that I could run,” McClain said.
The result, he said, was a 40 time “somewhere in the 4.6 range,” but he is aiming to cut it down some more in additional NFL workouts on campus this month.
“At 6-4, 259, 4.6 is fine, but I know I can run a 4.5,” McClain said. “I’ve run it before.”
Cornerback/return man Javier Arenas was just a spectator with a hamstring injury while Jackson stuck with his combine performance and only went through position drills.
Head coaches Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, John Fox of the Carolina Panthers and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets were on hand for the pro day.
Count Alabama coach Nick Saban among those impressed by Cody’s weight. He had practically dared him during the season to reach that level.
“I told him he could play on the rabbits (passing situations) here if he could get to 348,” Saban said. “I picked 348 because I knew in my mind he would never get there, so I was real happy to see him get there today.”
Or at least real close.
Cody said the key was being disciplined in his eating habits and doing “at least two hours of cardio” during his workouts.
“The main thing is you’ve got to be motivated,” Cody said. “You can say you’re going to do it and then you get out there and it starts getting hard, you’re going to quit.”
He has been projected mostly as a second- or third-round draft pick, particularly after his hefty weight at the Senior Bowl in January.
Cody has battled weight questions during his two seasons at Alabama, despite those All-America honors. He was mostly a first- and second-down player who came out on passing situations. He was also a lead blocker in goal line situations on offense.
The positive feedback has raised his hopes of making a dramatic move in the draft April 22-23.
“I’m thinking first round, probably Top 10, Top 15,” Cody said. “I feel like I kind of shocked a lot of people today and at the combine.”
He’s not giving up hope of joining top prospects invited to attend the draft in New York.
If the invite doesn’t come,” he joked, “I’ll probably be at coach Saban’s house having my draft party.”