Fastest runner at combine confused why he didn’t get $100K from adidas
The runner who had the fastest 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine cannot understand why he wasn’t one of the three fastest football players at the event to receive a $100,000 from adidas.
After the NFL put the kibosh on adidas awarding the three fastest runners at the combine a Porsche for their fleet-footed heroics — a conflict of interest with the league’s partnership with GM — the stakes were changed so that the top three runners would receive $100,000 instead of an automobile. The only stipulations were that the players had to run the 40-yard dash in adidas shoes and also sign an endorsement deal with the company.
JJ Nelson, a wide receiver from UAB, claims he was never offered the opportunity to sign a contract with adidas even though he chose to run the 40 in the company’s shoes given the chance to win a significant amount money.
“I signed some waiver at some point, but I was never given a chance to sign an endorsement deal,” Nelson said, per an ESPN report.
The money prize arguably had far greater value to Nelson than others given he’s slated to be a late-round selection in the draft and it’s not a guarantee he’ll land an NFL contract.
Nelson ran a blazing 4.28 40-yard dash, making him the fastest runner at the combine. But instead of receiving $100,000, the three prizes went to Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes (4.31), Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (4.33) and West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (4.35).
adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich reportedly stated Nelson was declared ineligible for one of the $100,000 prizes because he didn’t sign with the company before running his 40-yard dash.
The rules regarding running in adidas shoes and signing a contract with the brand in order to qualify for the prize stem from an incident last year when Brandin Cooks won $100,000 only to sign afterward with Nike.
adidas officially reportedly weren’t available for comment on the story, but perhaps it would be a savvy PR move for the company to fork over $100,000 to Nelson, given he ran the 40 in adidas shoes and presumably hasn’t signed an endorsement deal with anyone else, especially if Nelson was not given an opportunity to sign a deal due to an accidental oversight.
And if adidas deliberately did not offer Nelson a deal due to a perceived lack of potential marketability — although that would be nearly impossible to prove — it would make even more sense.
(photo credit: AP)