Corbin Bryant hasn't played a down of football since New Year's Day, when Northwestern lost to Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas. And it took awhile for the 6-4, 285-pound former Wildcat defensive end to admit that he was indeed nervous before participating in NFL timing day Tuesday in Evanston.
Bryant's nerves didn't show in perhaps the showcase event of timing day: the bench press. Bryant did 31 reps of 225 pounds, clearly the most of any NU participant.
"I'm going to admit that I was a little nervous the first time I ran my 40, but the second time I was like, 'Alright, I've got to get down here and just run as fast as I can and see what happens,' " said Bryant, who did not start playing football until his senior year at Morgan Park High School.
"I've gotten some good feedback [from the NFL scouts in attendance] and they said I looked good running out there," Bryant said. "They ask about your past -- have you been in trouble -- and I'm lucky enough to have a clean record so they know I'm a good guy."
Bryant said he has workouts set up with the Patriots, Jaguars and Bears in the coming weeks.
There were representatives from 29 of the league's 32 teams at timing day. Those who did not send scouts or coaches were the Jets, Redskins, Cowboys and Patriots.
With NFL labor uncertainty looming over the timing day exercises, players were trying not to worry about whether or not there will be a lockout. The first round of the NFL draft is scheduled for April 28, which should take place whether or not a collective barganing agreement is reached.
"I just blocked out the [league's] future and just worried about what I was doing [in the drills]," linebacker Quentin Davie said. "I try not to even worry about that. I'm trying to get past this milestone first and then I'll get there. I try to block it out, because it has nothing to do with me as of now."
Davie has overcome a shoulder injury suffered midway though last season. NU linebackers coach Randy Bates had described it as a "stinger," where Davie had difficulty raising his arm, much less making a tackle. Davie said he doesn't even remember which shoulder was injured, but that he is healthy now.
Another healed Wildcat participating in timing day was kicker Stefan Demos, who had offseason surgery on his left hip. Demos made his first 12 field goals from inside the 45-yard line and missed two 50-yard attempts that fell short.
Demos said he will participate in a combine in Los Angeles next month. It will be the final tune-up for Demos before the draft.
"I wasn't expecting to be able to kick by this time after the surgery," Demos said. "I had to get a bone removed from my hip and I had been rehabbing the last six to eight weeks back [home] in Arizona. My mobility is good and I just have to work on my strength now."