Greg Sorber / Associated Press
Friday, March 26, 2010 | 2:15 a.m.
After an untimely broken foot suffered a week before his final collegiate game gave former UNLV receiver Ryan Wolfe a late mountain to climb in his pursue of a job in the NFL, the hamstring tweak he suffered Thursday looks like a mere ant hill.
While working out for scouts for the first time since his mid-November injury, the program's all-time leading pass catcher had a solid afternoon at Rebel Park before slightly injuring his left hamstring while running the 40-yard dash.
Still, it didn't put a damper on the day of the Santa Clarita, Calif., native, who is still positive regarding his professional gridiron future with the draft roughly four weeks away.
"I guess I'll be relieved for now until I've got to step back on the field," Wolfe said. "But hopefully the things I've done on the field the last four years have helped me to get some type of notoriety up to this point. Now all I've got to do is run the 40 (again) and do those little things to sure up some of those thoughts."
The 17 NFL teams represented by scouts Thursday saw Wolfe put up 15 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press, a 33.5-inch vertical leap and a 9-foot, 10-inch effort on the broad jump before heading outside for the running portion of the testing.
Wolfe, who finished is UNLV career with school records in receptions (283) and receiving yards (3,495), suffered the hamstring injury while in stride in his first attempt at the 40-yard dash. After having it massaged some, he came back to post a time in the low 4.6-second range on his second attempt, then shut it down for the day.
"Nothing too serious," he said of the injury, which forced him to miss the pass-catching drills at the end of the day. "But serious enough for me to make sure I get that healed up and don't do anything that could potentially harm me."
Wolfe still has plenty of work to do for scouts and team executives in the coming weeks.
In fact, he has a meeting set this weekend here in town with the Atlanta Falcons' brass, including head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The plan originally was to hold a private workout for the duo, but now it will be more of a meet-and-greet.
Wolfe plans to hold another workout in the next two weeks once he's a full go. In his UNLV career, Wolfe never was injury-prone, missing only the last game of his four-year run after breaking his foot while returning a punt in practice during a late-season bye week.
"It's tough," he said of the troublesome leg injury. "Just another bump in the road."
Wolfe was just one of several former Rebels to show their raw physical abilities Thursday, including fellow draft hopefuls Joe Hawley and Jason Beauchamp.
Hawley, who was an anchor on UNLV's offensive line each of the last two seasons, was able to work out for scouts at last month's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, unlike Wolfe.
He turned some heads there by performing the third-most reps on the bench press (35) of all offensive-line prospects.
Hawley returned to the UNLV weight room with the intention of performing only in the vertical jump, wanting to improve on a poor showing in Indy.
"I was worn out at the combine," he said of his jumps last month. "It was a long day."
He improved on his previous mark of 26 inches in a big way by leaping 31.5 inches Thursday, which is a mark that only seven linemen in Indianapolis either matched or bettered.
Then, after some urging from scouts on hand, he attempted the broad jump. After leaping an impressive eight feet and nine inches at the combine, he improved on that mark by two inches, which was better than all but five marks recorded last month at the combine.
Thursday's showing was topped off by Hawley having significantly less facial hair, too, as he shed his trademarked bushy beard for a simple goatee.
"I had to clean it up," he said with a laugh. "This is a job interview."
Maybe the most impressive marks of the day were put up by former UNLV safety Marquel Martin, who in 10 games last season had 34 tackles and an interception.
He twice ran the 40 in the 4.4-second range, posted a 10-foot, 10-inch jump in the broad and then had a 38.5-inch vertical leap.
Beauchamp, who as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker last season led UNLV in tackles for the second consecutive year with 95 stops to go with 12 behind the line of scrimmage and 6.5 sacks, was left feeling so-so following the combine, finishing as a top performer only in the vertical, where he leaped 29.5 inches.
Thursday he put up 30 repetitions on the bench, then ran in the 4.7-second range during each attempt in the 40.
"I've never been a guy that is big on numbers or a track runner type of guy," he said. "But I think that I have what it takes, physically and mentally and with a lot of the things that aren't really measurable. There, I feel like I'm ahead of the pack. I just need to get my foot in the door and I think everything else will take care of itself."
Beauchamp, like so many draft hopefuls, is banking on the theory that it takes only one scout, coach or executive from any of the 32 NFL franchises to like you to earn a coveted shot at making a roster.
He said he'll likely work out again, at least once, for NFL personnel on the West Coast in hopes of increasing his exposure as much as possible.
"I think I've caught someone's eye," he said with confidence. "But all I've got to know is that if I get a shot, I'll do the most with the shot that's given."