South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's time in the 40-yard dash was the talk of the NFL combine Monday. (Michael Conroy / Associated Press)
Indianapolis — Jadeveon Clowney made things tougher for Johnny Manziel and the other potential No. 1 picks Monday.
The South Carolina end ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of the defensive lineman. NFL.com reported the unofficial time at 4.47 seconds; NFL Network said it was 4.53. Either way, it was still tops at his position.
Clowney did 21 reps at 225 pounds in the weightlifting workout, putting him in the second half of the defensive ends.
Michael Sam, trying to become the first openly gay player in the NFL, posted an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.79 seconds (NFL.com reported it at 4.91) and did 17 reps, according to NFL.com.
Dolphins downplay scandal
The players’ union representative from the Dolphins says the fallout from their bullying scandal is overblown because every NFL team has a similar locker-room culture.
Long snapper John Denney, a nine-year veteran, said he hadn’t read the investigative report on the Dolphins case. But any harassment among players is nothing new, he said.
“It’s overblown, because this has been my experience with the league my entire career from Day One,” Denney said during a telephone interview. “If something needed to be done, it needed to be done a long time ago. It has never escalated. I never saw conditions worsen. I guess we’re late in getting to the issue.
“I would be comfortable in saying if you put an investigation on any of the 32 teams in the NFL, you’re going to come out with the exact same results.”
In a report released Feb. 14, investigators found guard Richie Incognito and two other offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment directed at tackle Jonathan Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he’s confident the necessary changes will be made to ensure a healthy locker-room environment. Tannehill made his first public comments regarding the 144-page report.
“I saw a few pages of it,” Tannehill said. “I got overwhelmed by 140-and-whatever pages and skipped it. I’m just glad it’s out. The evaluations and summaries have been made, the points have been taken and now we can move forward.
“There’s no more being anxious about it coming out. We’ve had the consequences and repercussions, and now we can put it in the past and move forward.”
The Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and longtime head athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill for their roles in the scandal, and coach Joe Philbin pledged to improve the workplace culture.
“I think it’s behind us at this point,” Tannehill said. “Obviously we’ll try to learn from it and correct things coach Philbin and the coaching staff feel need to be changed. We want to have a healthy locker room.”
Scam nets jail time
Former kicker and punter Russell Erxleben was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for running an illegal investment scam that netted $2 million.
Prosecutors said Erxleben scammed investors from 2005 to 2009 with fraudulent deals that promoted dealing in post-World War I German government bonds and a work of art purportedly by French painter Paul Gauguin.
He also received three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay restitution.
It will be Erxleben’s second stint in federal prison. He was sentenced in 1999 to seven years for a scam that robbed investors of $36 million.
Erxleben, 57, a former Texas All-American, holds the school record for longest field goal (67 yards). He was a first-round draft pick by the Saints in 1979.
Former Ravens and Jets linebacker Bart Scott has been hired as a studio analyst for CBS’ “The NFL Today” pregame show. Scott is a former Detroit Southeastern High standout.
... The Raiders signed special teams standout Taiwan Jones to a three-year extension.