Former UAB wide receiver JJ Nelson ran in Adidas shoes and posted the fastest time of any player at the Combine — 4.28 seconds. However, Nelson isn’t $100,000 richer and Adidas isn’t ponying up the money anytime soon.
The catch? Adidas says that Nelson didn’t sign an endorsement deal before he ran his 40. Nelson says he was never given a chance to sign. As Nelson told ESPN’s Darren Rovell, “I signed some waiver at some point, but I was never given a chance to sign an endorsement deal.”
Adidas did pay the three players who ran the fastest 40 times in their shoes – Michigan State’s Trey Waynes, West Virginia’s Kevin White, and Miami’s Phillip Dorsett. However, this serves as yet another reminder to young athletes to read between the lines. If Nelson liked the Adidas shoes and knew that he might be in the running to post a good 40 time, then he should have sought out somebody at Adidas to make sure that he fulfilled all of the requirements to be eligible for the $100,000.
It’s a bit of a sad story for a player who is expected to be nothing better than a late round pick. However, Nelson should chalk it up as the first lesson of his professional career.