It pays to be fast in the NFL, and Adidas confirmed that Tuesday by offering $1 million to any prospect who can break the 40-yard-dash record at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Adidas made the official announcement on Twitter:
Break the 40 record, win $1 million.
— adidas Football US (@adidasFballUS) February 9, 2016
According to Adidas’ website, the one catch involved is that prospects must wear Adidas-branded footwear while running the 40-yard dash in order to be eligible for the cash prize.
Per NFL.com, current Arizona Cardinals and former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson holds the record with a time of 4.24 seconds, which he set in 2008 when he was fresh out of East Carolina.
Adidas has tried something similar before, as it paid $100,000 each to Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White for being the three fastest Team Adidas athletes at last year’s combine:
@TWaynes_15, @Dorsett_4 and @kwhite8 won $100k for having the 3 fastest 40’s by #teamadidas athletes. pic.twitter.com/WChYym5FQB
— adidas Football US (@adidasFballUS) February 23, 2015
The stakes are much higher this year, plus Adidas is being more inclusive since the player must only wear the company’s cleats rather than sign with the brand.
Beating Johnson’s time is a tall task, although New York Jets and former Kent State running back Dri Archer came close two years ago with a time of 4.26 seconds.
Any player who can run a faster 40 than Johnson figures to significantly boost his draft stock in any case. However, with $1 million on the line, the fastest prospects in the 2016 class will have even more incentive to perfect their technique prior to the start of the combine on Feb. 23.