I remember catching up to Larry Fitzgerald in the Cardinals' facility sometime in the weeks after the Super Bowl, wanting to do a story on what remains the greatest playoff run a receiver has ever had in the postseason. I noted that on his iconic 64-yard touchdown against the Steelers, he showed some speed not many thought he had. Fitz didn't like that -- not that I was wrong, but that people didn't think he was fast.
That popped into my head Wednesday when Christian Kirk was asked about his speed, particularly after he looked pretty damn fast in Tampa last weekend on his 33- and 69-yard touchdown catches on what were essentially go routes where he just ran past the defender. It wasn't just Kirk's size (5-foot-11) some questioned when he came out for the draft, but the fact he didn't have blazing speed, per se, to offset that size.
"That sits with me," Kirk admitted. "Ever since draft day and hearing everybody talk. Every Sunday I go out there and keep continuing to prove people wrong. I keep trying to put on film, I haven't been caught from behind too many times. Just keep trying to outrun people."
Kirk was measured by Next Gen Stats at the league to have gone 21.21 miles an hours on his 69-yard score and 20.93 miles an hour on his 33-yarder, good enough for the fourth and seventh-fastest plays of the week, respectively. (Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman was the fastest last week at 21.87 mph.)
Fitzgerald was timed at 4.50 in the 40 back at his Pitt pro day once upon a time. Anquan Boldin was dinged for his 4.71 40 time, and he played faster on the field. Another guy who absolutely played faster on the field? Jerry Rice, and his 4.71 40.
That's what is kind of funny with Kirk. He was asked what his 40 time was. It was 4.47, Kirk said. That was considered slow?
"Yes sir," Kirk answered, with a mix of a small, satisfied smile from a man who knows he's shown himself to be anything but slow, and the remaining irritation of the fact it was a thing in the first place.