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TE Graham turns heads;jason fox injures hamstring;
Graham turns heads at Miami's Pro Day
3/26/2010, 5:06 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press
(AP) — CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Jimmy Graham can thank former Miami Hurricane quarterback Bernie Kosar for his expected future in the NFL.
Kosar threw to Graham, a four-year letterman on the basketball team, last summer three days a week as Graham had aspirations to play football.
"He was the one, who kept pushing me and telling me, 'Jimmy, I think one day you can be a playmaker in the NFL'," Graham said.
He was initially surprised at the praise he received from the former Pro Bowler.
"I was like, 'what is this guy talking about," Graham said.
Graham, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end, responded with a successful season as he was second on the team with five touchdown catches on 17 receptions for 213 yards.
He participated in the Senior Bowl and turned in the second-fastest 40-yard dash time amongst tight ends at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis with a 4.56, but did not run the 40 at UM's annual pro day on Friday.
"I think people know I'm fast, they know I can catch, and I didn't think I really needed to run it again-I was told not to run it again," Graham quipped.
Some scouts have questioned Graham's toughness, which was never questioned on the basketball court as one of UM's top enforcers and physical players in addition to his rough upbringing in North Carolina.
"I'm not sure where that (criticism) comes from," Graham said. "I know when teams look at what I've been through in my life, what I've been through in college and high school, that I've had to be tough and be on my own and when they know those things, they won't really have any questions about it."
Graham, who is represented by Jimmy Sexton, is projected as high as a second-round pick in April's draft.He's planning on visiting 8-10 teams next week.
Other notes from UM's pro day:
? Offensive lineman Jason Fox, an all-ACC pick, who started 47 games, ranking third on UM's all-time list, suffered a left hamstring injury when running the 40-yard dash.
? Sam Shields, who caught 75 passes as a wide receiver before making 10 starts at cornerback his senior season, ran an unofficial 4.28 in the 40-yard dash.Shields was arrested last week on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana, less than 20 grams.
UM tackle Jason Fox injures hamstring in front of NFL scouts
Hurricanes’ Jimmy Graham at Pro Day: ‘I am a physical player’
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Posted: 7:39 p.m. Friday, March 26, 2010
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CORAL GABLES — Jason Fox hoped to prove at the University of Miami's Pro Timing Day on Friday that his surgically-repaired right knee was fully healed.
As it turned out, Fox's left knee was fine. It was his left hamstring that was the problem.
Fox, a 6-foot-7, 314-pound offensive tackle, went down in a heap while running the 40-yard dash before a group of scouts representing all 32 NFL teams. Fox clutched his leg before he got up, then received help from UM's training staff. He was unable to continue.
The exact nature of the injury was not disclosed. Fox declined to speak with reporters and did not respond to messages left on his cell phone.
If nothing else, the hamstring injury cost Fox another chance to improve his draft status. He was unable to participate in most drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in February as he recovered from knee surgery in early December.
The recent injury bug is in contrast to Fox's tenure at UM, where he was an iron man. He started 47 games, the third-most in school history, while playing in what he has described as "unbearable" knee pain.
A first-team All-ACC selection, he played for the last time in a 34-16 victory against Duke on Nov. 21. He missed the regular-season finale against South Florida and the Champs Sports Bowl against Wisconsin.
"It's been a difficult road for him," said center A.J. Trump, one of a dozen UM players to audition on Friday. "He gave his heart and soul to this team and now he's kind of playing the price for it. But he'll bounce back."
Pro Timing Day was the beginning of what will be a hectic couple of weeks for tight end Jimmy Graham. Regarded as the Hurricanes' best pro prospect, Graham said he expects to visit "8 to 10" teams, including the Dolphins.
Graham is one of the draft's most intriguing prospects. He was a power forward for UM's basketball team from 2005-2009 before playing football last year for the first time since he was a high school freshman.
At the NFL combine, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Graham opened eyes with his athleticism. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and vertical jumped 38 feet, 5 inches. On Friday, Graham chose to skip several drills.
"I already ran a 4.5 at the combine under pretty stressful situations," Graham said. "I think people know I'm fast, they know I can catch the ball."
According to UM players who participated, the most impressive performance was turned in by cornerback Sam Shields, who ran 40 yards in 4.28 seconds. Shields, arrested last week in Sarasota for possession of marijuana, did not speak with reporters.
The Hurricanes, who had a player selected in the first round in an NFL-record 14 consecutive drafts from 1995-2008, are unlikely to have anyone selected in the first round for the second straight year. Last year, the only UM player drafted was linebacker Spencer Adkins in the sixth round.