If healthy, Marquise Brown believes he would've broken 40-yard dash record

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown was held out of NFL Combine drills because of a foot injury.

Indianapolis — The NFL Combine is a series of job interviews, and even though a normal interview doesn't include feats of speed and strength, stepping on a scale in your underwear and having your body poked and prodded by a team of medical professionals, most of the prospects do their best to take a professional approach to the grueling week.

Part of that means muting the otherwise big personalities that come along with the confidence it takes to excel at the highest level of sport. Media sessions can be dull and there are a lot of "Sirs" and "Ma'ams" being unnecessarily thrown around because no one wants to stand out in a way that can be perceived as negative. 

But through the sea of media in the interview room, Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown does stand out — an impressive feat for the smallest prospect at the combine and one not participating in any on-field drills due to a foot injury he suffered late last season. 

Around Brown's neck glistens a good chain with a diamond-encrusted "Hollywood" as the eye-catching focal point. It's a not-so-subtle reminder of a nickname that encapsulates his combination of big plays and big personality. 

Maybe somewhat surprisingly, the first 20 minutes of Brown's press conference could be classified as boring. He even remained calm as wave after wave of reporter asked about his cousin, disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. 

And Marquise, 21, shrugged off concerns about his weight, even though 166 pounds is going to make even most casual football fan second guess his ability to stay healthy. He believes once he can resume his normal lower-body workouts, he'll get up to around 175 pounds. That's similar to Tampa Bay's DeSean Jackson. 

But as the media session wound down, Brown's ego, which is part of what makes him such a fun player, began to peep out from the shadows. Asked if he was frustrated about not being able to participate in the on-field testing this week, he noted that he wanted to show off his speed. 

"I was looking forward to doing the 40, but it's cool," he said. "I'll let my play speed speak."

And how fast does he think he would have run? 

"I was going to aim for the record, for sure." 

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is the cousin of Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown.

Officially, the record is 4.22 seconds, set by Cincinnati Bengals receiver John Ross in 2017. 

Asked if he think he could have bested the mark, Brown nodded, "Yeah." 

We'll likely never be able to attach a number to his straight line speed. Brown's foot won't be healed enough to run at Oklahoma's pro day and it's not really something NFL players have to do after the draft. More importantly, no one will care if he can produce anything like he did at college. 

A junior-college transfer, he topped 1,000 yards each of his two seasons with the Sooners. In 2018, he caught 75 balls for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

Brown had been in the mix to be the first receiver drafted and should still be selected in the first two rounds. 


Twitter; @Justin_Rogers