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Heisman winner Ingram cuts 40 times at Alabama pro day

The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
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Izzy Gould
NFLDraftScout.com

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Mark Ingram's false start was a sign of his eagerness to be unleashed.

The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner bounced up and down around Alabama's indoor practice facility, the 40-yard dash lined with orange cones and NFL scouts from every team.

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The former Crimson Tide running back appeared as lean Wednesday as he was two weeks ago at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He weighed in just one pound lighter at 214.

After a pair of completed runs, a shirtless Ingram had attained what he believed to be a satisfying 40-yard dash. He was timed between 4.47 and 4.53, according to unofficial handheld stopwatch times. That improved upon his combine time of 4.62, which was highlighted by a 10-yard split of 1.89.

"I didn't run a great race at the combine," said Ingram, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated running back. "I was really determined and focused to come out here and show that I was faster. I think today was an overall success."

Ingram, who missed Alabama's first two games in 2010 recovering from minor knee surgery, appears to have fully recovered. He was put through a series of field tests forcing him to cut, jump and pound on the artificial turf placing plenty of pressure on his knees and ankles. Those cuts appeared sharp, and the jack-hammering his legs absorbed hardly appeared to faze him.

"How athletic you look and how smooth you go through the drills is important," Ingram said. "How you run the routes and how you catch the ball, those are things that are important to me as a running back."

In general, the purpose of Alabama's pro day was to give NFL scouts another taste of what the Crimson Tide has to offer. Alabama had 10 prospects present to participate in portions of the day's events -- everything from weights and measures to jumps, speed and agility testing.

"It really can help them," said Alabama coach Nick Saban, who coached the Miami Dolphins for two seasons. "It's also a follow-up to whatever they did in Indy. They have an opportunity to improve on some area maybe they didn't feel they did as well in. This is a good opportunity."

NFL head coaches such as Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers) and John Fox (Denver Broncos) attended, as did Broncos executive vice president John Elway. Rivera, who holds the No. 1 pick in the draft, spent plenty of time talking to former Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Some draft analysts have said Dareus is contending with former Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley to be the top pick in the draft.

Dareus, who weighed 318 pounds Wednesday, said he posted a mark of 8 feet, 10 inches in the standing broad jump. He also raced through agility drills with plenty of power, whether it be pounding tackling dummies or using a burst of energy to finish off a drill with emphasis.

Dareus said he wanted to show teams his flexibility, including good hand and footwork.

Any lingering concerns about his health were erased. Dareus, who dealt with a high-ankle sprain most of the 2010 season, said he's "110 percent" healthy and showed no signs of pain.

In talks with NFL teams, Dareus said he likes what he has heard.

"They say I'm doing pretty good," Dareus said. "Some say I could be a good player, play at least 10 years in the league. That sounds good from other teams. I really feel like I can go even further."

James Carpenter also worked out for the scouts, but did not speak with reporters afterward. The former Alabama offensive left tackle was among the last to go through his drills.

Former Alabama receiver Julio Jones, ranked ninth overall and No. 2 at wide receiver behind Georgia junior A.J. Green on the current NFLDraftScout.com rankings, made an appearance in his black and red Under Armour sweatsuit from the combine. Jones earned wide praise after his combine workout where he ran a 4.39, 40-yard dash and jumped 11 feet, 3 inches in the standing broad jump.

Jones was on crutches Wednesday recovering from surgery on his right foot.

Also unable to work out was former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, who had a protective cast to protect a fracture in his right (throwing) hand removed Tuesday and replaced with a splint.

Jones said he will go through rehabilitation in Tuscaloosa, and that he is finished with workouts before the draft.

"My biggest concern is just getting back healthy," Jones said. "When you're in the league, you're going to be injured. It's basically how you deal with it. I feel I deal with injuries very well."

Izzy Gould covers Alabama for the Mobile Press-Register, The Birmingham News and The Huntsville Times.

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