In the NFL, as it pertains to testing, players are guilty until proven innocent. Chidobe Awuzie learned this the hard way and had to clear his name.
The Dallas Cowboys cornerback revealed on Twitter that he was not-so-randomly checked for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) by the league on Monday, one day after making an incredible play on star Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
On New York’s first offensive possession, Barkley ripped off a huge 59-yard gain, shooting through the Dallas defense and bound for the end zone … until a lightning-quick Awuzie — clocked at 22.81 miles per hour, the fastest recorded time of any NFL player since 2017 — tracked him down, corralling the Pro Bowler around his ankles.
Red flags. Immediately.
Awuzie finished with four tackles and a pass deflection in the Cowboys’ 35-17 takedown of Big Blue.
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Need for Speed
Awuzie wasn’t known for his quicks at Colorado, where he was a two-time second-team All-Pac-12 selection. But he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the 2017 Scouting Combine, bumping his stock to the second round, where Dallas scooped him up.
“Sticky man-cover corner who possesses the reactive athleticism and foot quickness to maintain coverage responsibilities around the field,” his NFL.com scouting profile reads. “Awuzie is not a burner, but his technique and instincts should provide what he needs to compete downfield. His inconsistencies as a tackler, however, could turn off some teams. He can play outside or in the slot and has traits and talent to compete for early playing time.”
For what it’s worth, Awuzie claims he wasn’t trying all that hard to catch Barkley, one of the best backs in football.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL