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George Rose/Getty Images

For anyone that watched Bo Jackson play, and the remainder of us who live vicariously v his jaw-dropping highlights, it’s no an enig the proud of Bessemer, Alabama to be a once-in-a-generation athlete. As well as LeBron James in the NBA or Mike Trout in significant League Baseball, there aren’t countless athletes qualified of make everyone around them look choose amateurs. As soon as it came to Vincent Edward Jackson, he to be miles ahead of his peers.

You are watching: Fastest 40 yard dash time in nfl history

On the baseball diamond, Jackson thrived. Gift a full time MLB player v the Kansas City Royals was Jackson’s true passion, showcasing transcendent speed and power in a four-year stretch when he fight 107 house runs, journey in 304 RBIs, and also stole 78 bases. Top top the gridiron, Jackson was leading in a part-time role. That every running ago since the NFL’s merger through at the very least 500 carries, Jackson’s 5.40 yards every rush ranks very first all-time.


It have to come together no surprise that prior to Jackson start the 1986 NFL Draft, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner and also two-time consensus All-American indigenous the Auburn Tigers to be a lock to be the No. 1 as whole pick. Had a crazy story of deception not adjusted everything, Jackson, who ended up as the peak pick of the ’86 draft, would’ve played because that the Tampa bay Buccaneers. He chose to go after baseball before Tampa just forfeited his draft rights, and also the Los Angeles Raiders choose him 183rd in its entirety in the 1987 NFL Draft.

You recognize what happened next.

In today’s game, the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis puts a microscopic lense on everything. From monster interview inquiries to measuring hand size, naught is off limits with countless dollars top top the line. The future the the Detroit Lions, new Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and also ever various other franchise ride on their respective scouts’ evaluations. At ESPN, draft specialists like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. Sift v the data to dissect numerous draft-eligible players, yet some guys simply jump off the page.

When it involved Bo Jackson, his talent to be obvious.

Bo Jackson’s NFL draft Report


Niners scouting rpt top top Bo Jackson pic.twitter.com/wzf7NzRdwk

— lug Brownie earlier (
Cleveland_elf) march 8, 2020


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An evident scouting report of Jackson surfaced online this previous spring. The was written by a mountain Francisco 49ers scout named Tony Razzano and was date December 1985, which was shortly before the finish of Jackson’s record-setting last year of university football. In it space nuggets that foreshadowed simply how an excellent he’d be, aligning Jackson with several of the biggest running backs in NFL history:

“Has every the super attributes to it is in the top player to ever come out of college consisting of Hershel Walker and O.J. and all the other an excellent backs (Jim Brown, etc.)”

“A supervisor producer. I am in awe over his achievements as a soccer player and baseball player. Has actually the physical capability to do anything in sports and also be a champion. A differ rare gift.”

Jackson checked all the box ? that was given a nine out of 10 in practically every classification under “Playing Specifics,” probably since giving that a perfect score debunks the expression “nobody’s perfect.”

At 6-foot-1 and also 222 pounds, however, one specific number stands the end the many ? Under “Speed,” Jackson’s 40-yard dash time that 4.12 seconds is top top par with the fastest human beings on the planet.

Bo Jackson 40 Time

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Jackson when said during one ESPN interview the he actually ran a 4.13 40-yard dash in college, which sounds like another Bo Jackson myth you can’t assist but believe is true.


“I was on my way to track practice, and also they had actually the combine there — there had to be 20 or 30 males there — and also we were within running. And also the coach says, ‘Hey Bo, we obtained a bunch that scouts here from all over the country and also we acquired a tiny combine here, and also they’re timing males for the 40. Why don’t friend come in and also run a 40 because that them?"”

It took part convincing for Bo, who was top top his method to practice with former Olympic sprinter Harvey Glance, yet eventually, he decided to run.

“I ran my very first 40, and about five yards indigenous the finish line, I type of allow up and also just cruised through, and I ran a 4.3. As I’m walking back, my coach is walking in the direction of me. That said, ‘Hey, why don’t you run the cursed 40 and give these civilization what lock want.’ So ns said, ‘Alright. Yet you gotta open the back door,’ due to the fact that they just had about 10 to 15 yards of space for you to stop once you crossed the line… for this reason I acquired down, and everything was done electronically, and I didn’t find out until after track exercise what I’d run. And some the the men that had stopwatches, they had me in ~ a 3.9 or 4-flat with stopwatches, however the digital timer acquired me in ~ a 4.13.”

For reference, the fastest 40-yard dash in ~ the NFL Combine due to the fact that 2006 to be NCAA wide receiver john Ross, who ran a 4.22 ago in 2017 and holds the 40-yard dash record. After the comes NFL players chris Johnson (4.24), Dri Archer (4.26), and Marquise Goodwin (4.27).


During a Super key party earlier in 2019, world record holder Usain Bolt suitable Ross’ 40 time in spite of not wearing spikes. Let’s repeat that another way: Bo Jackson was quicker than the world’s more quickly man.

Usain Bolt’s 40-Yard Dash


Just observed Usain Bolt tie the faster NFL 40 garden dash with 4.22 #SBLIII

Wasn’t wearing running spikes either pic.twitter.com/Fv8fK2S9ZR

— simon crosse (

Bo Jackson’s city legends never get old, yet this one, the seems, is anything yet myth. He really may be the greatest athlete to ever live.

See more: Report: Floyd Mayweather Oscar De La Hoya Fight For $100M Purse

This post was initially published on march 10, 2020.

MORE: Bo Jackson’s net Worth: just how Football & Baseball Made the Millions


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About the author: man Duffley
John join the priziv.org team with five years of experience freelancing as a sporting activities writer for TheDupes.net and Football.com. A graduate of penn State University, John right now lives and also works in Austin, Texas. He is additionally a member that the Football writers Association that America (FWAA).