The National Football League measures just about everything when it comes to the super-size human beings who are invited to join the ranks of professional football.
Take George Washington grad Sharrif Floyd, for instance. The league’s stats show he can run the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds. His vertical jump is 30 inches. They even measured the length of his arms, a standard practice. At 31¾ inches, his arms were seen by some to be too short to disrupt offensive linemen with longer limbs.
In the hype preceding the draft, Floyd was routinely mentioned as a Top 3 pick. But he had to watch two other defensive tackles go before him, and wait for the Vikings to take his name off the board at Pick No. 23.
The mystery remains about why Floyd was not among the Top 5 first-round picks. But it struck us that the NFL, in all its wisdom, perhaps had failed to take the most important measurement of all — the size of his heart.
For anyone who knows him well will tell you that he has the heart of a champion and the mental toughness to match.
They have seen up-close how he works so hard; inspires others; builds deep loyalties and remains appreciative of those who helped him escape the dangerous streets of North Philadelphia and an equally toxic home environment.
Florida coach Will Muschamp summed it up best when he told NFL.com “there is no reason he should be the kid that he is right now. His background is as tough as anyone I’ve been around.”
As our Ed Morrone reports on the sports pages this week, a whole posse of close supporters traveled to New York City last week to be with Floyd at the pinnacle of his football career so far.
Among them was his former high school principal, Kathy Murphy, who on Tuesday talked about the “high energy” that abounded at draft headquarters at Radio City Music Hall that night.
“It was exciting, a wonderful experience,” she said.
Months ago, Murphy asked Floyd if he would return to Washington to give the high school commencement speech this June 19. He told her he would if he didn’t have a conflict. Last week, in New York, she renewed her request. And again, he said he would gladly return to do the honors, if the Vikings allow.
To us, those are signs of loyalty and character, the true measure of a man. ••