NORMAN, Okla. -- Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly lashed out at Oklahoma on Wednesday after a disappointing performance in a 40-yard dash in front of NFL scouts.
Kelly, who left Oklahoma after his junior season, blamed his slow time of 4.68 seconds on an unexpected change in surfaces at his pro day.
"This is my life. You know what I'm saying? This ain't no school. This ain't no classroom. This ain't got nothing to do with that," Kelly said. "This has to do with me; my family. This is what I do. I play football. And I'm supposed to come out here and run as fast as I can."
Kelly skipped Oklahoma's original pro timing day last month while recuperating from a tear in his quadriceps, and said he had arranged with Oklahoma strength coach Jerry Schmidt to run on the Astroturf infield at the indoor track.
He said he was surprised when he arrived and found out he'd instead be running on the artificial turf inside the Sooners' indoor football facility.
"I already had everything set up for where I want to do it at," Kelly said. "I get out here and it's a whole different deal."
Kelly said he recently ran 40-yard dashes in 4.5 and 4.47 seconds on a firmer surface in Atlanta, where he has been training. The slower time could drop the draft stock for Kelly, who had been projected as a possible first-round pick in the April 26 draft.
"People want to say surface is surface, but it's a lot more to it than that," Kelly said. "You have to think about how much ground time you have running on this mushy surface here and how much ground time you have on Astroturf.
"Just a little bit of time could mean a whole lot of draft money."
Schmidt said he NFL scouts preferred Kelly run on the softer surface because "this is the surface that they run on" and that scouts could add fractions of a second to a 40-yard dash time if they perceive a track to be too fast.
"I told Malcolm it's up to him, wherever he wants to run," Schmidt said.
Kelly's agent, Chad Speck, said the surface was the slowest track that Kelly could have run on and suggested it could have cost him as much as two-tenths of a second.
"When it's a spongy surface and your foot sinks and is on the ground as long as it is on that surface, it's just going to correlate to a slow 40 time," Speck said.
Speck said Kelly had specially fit shoes designed to run on the other surface, but it wouldn't have been wise for him to refuse to workout despite the change in conditions.
"He's really only had about three to four weeks to get ready for this day, and for that short amount of time, every day was critical," Speck said. "He had prepared exactly for what was going to be done -- what surface it was going to be on, what shoes he was going to wear, everything."
Speck said Kelly's performance in other drills was competitive if not better than other top receivers, even if it wasn't up to his usual standards. He also pointed out that some scouts had Kelly clocked faster than the time that was officially recorded.
Speck said Kelly was visiting the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday afternoon and also intended to meet with the Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. He said Kelly would be willing to run for any team if they wanted to time him again.
Kelly also criticized Oklahoma's medical staff, which initially diagnosed him with a deep thigh bruise instead of the partially torn quadriceps. He played only one series in the Fiesta Bowl because of the injury.
"I was told by the staff I had a thigh bruise," Kelly said. "I told them it felt a lot worse than that."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press