I never knew this story. Zach's numbers are clearly HOF worthy, but he has to continue to battle the stigma of his size. This is just a small and edited sample of an excellent article. Be sure to read it.
Dave Hyde (N&O) wrote:
(Mike Westhoff) was the lone NFL assistant to visit in Lubbock, Texas, that afternoon to meet the too-small linebacker. He asked to watch the linebacker’s worst game with him, worked him out and then did something that surprised the draft prospect.
“I didn’t do 24 bench presses like you wrote — I only did 22,” Zach Thomas told Miami Dolphins assistant Mike Westhoff. Maybe that’s the moment it started, the first of several dots you can connect to Jimmy Johnson making the draft pick with the greatest value in team history for any player not named Dan Marino.
As Westhoff went to the bathroom before leaving, Thomas’s eye wandered to the sheet of written times and numbers of repetitions for the various drills he performed in the workout.
“Coach, I didn’t do this,” Thomas said, pointing to that bench-press total. Westhoff shrugged. He exaggerated that number. (W)hen he didn’t want anyone to see Thomas’s questionable size underlined by an unimpressive bench-press number. He bumped it up a little.
Did it matter? Who knows? Like Westhoff, Johnson saw the playmaking ability of Thomas. He also saw a 5-10, 226-pound middle linebacker who might be available as a bargain late in the draft.
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