Adidas offers deal to fastest player

Updated: February 24, 2013, 12:58 AM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Speed at the NFL combine doesn't immediately boost draft position, but at least it will guarantee the fastest player at the event a shoe contract.

Adidas has had billboards in Indianapolis, the site of the event, promising a shoe deal to the player that ran the fastest time. On Saturday, the shoe company put an ad on a flap on the cover of the Indianapolis Star promoting the marketing idea.

"Run the fastest 40, and get a contract offer," the ad said.

The company is using the ads to promote its lightweight adizero 5-star prime cleats, which weigh 5.3 oz. Players can run in adidas shoes should they choose, but a competitor, Under Armour, has the marketing rights to the combine. Players who sign with adidas can not wear the company's logos on the playing field because adidas doesn't have a marketing deal with the NFL, unlike Nike and Under Armour.

Adidas spokesman Michael Ehrlich said that the company will come through with an offer on a contract, but there is no minimum.

Players that are favorites to run the fastest time include Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson, University of North Carolina's Giovani Bernard and Marquise Goodwin of Texas.

What is likely is at some point that speedster will play with the Oakland Raiders. The fastest player at the NFL in four of the last six years has signed with the silver and black.

DeMarcus Van Dyke (2011), Jacoby Ford (2010) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (2009) were drafted by the team, while Yamon Figurs (2007) signed with the team in 2010.

Adidas' most high profile endorser, Washington Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III, ran the fastest time for a quarterback at last year's event.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter