As a 2008 second-round draft pick who played well in his first couple seasons with the Rams, Donnie Avery once looked like a future star in the NFL. But Avery missed all of 2010 with a knee injury, then was released by the Rams and caught only three passes for the Titans in 2011, and when he signed with the Colts last week, it was viewed as a relatively insignificant free agent move.
Avery, however, says the talent that made him a second-round pick and a promising rookie is still there, and that the Colts just got themselves a playmaker. In fact, Avery claims that even after his 2010 knee injury, Avery got all the way back to full speed, to the point where he could run a 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds.
“Last year after the injury, after the lockout, I did clock a 4.25,” Avery told Indianapolis reporters, in comments distributed by the Colts’ PR staff. “It was on grass and it was 40 yards in Houston.”
One reporter asked an interesting follow-up to that claim: Why did Avery run a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the Combine?
“I had a pulled hamstring,” Avery answered. “I told all of the coaches before I had a pulled hamstring and they told me, ‘don’t do anything.’ But I just felt bad sitting back and watching other guys run and compete and I couldn’t participate. After that I did the gauntlet, re-strained it and had to sit out the rest of the Combine.”
Hamstring injury or not, I have a feeling that when Avery was timed at 4.25 seconds he was aided by a generous hand-timer, and that at the Combine he wouldn’t have run that fast. But if Avery is as fast now as he was during his rookie season with the Rams, the Colts have added a good deep threat for Andrew Luck.