INDIANAPOLIS: University of Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield has his father’s facial features, his mannerisms and his penchant for studying receivers on his laptop.
But Minnifield’s goal is to be better than his father, Frank, a four-time Pro Bowler who played the same position for the Browns from 1984 to 1992.
“It pushes me every day,” Chase Minnifield said Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. “Everybody tells me I won’t be, so it’s good fuel.”
Measuring 5-foot-10› and 183 pounds, Minnifield is ranked as the 54th best player by NFLDraftScout.com, but a fourth- or fifth-round pick by Pro Football Weekly.
He wouldn’t mind finding himself in Cleveland trying to surpass his father’s success in the league.
“That would be an awesome situation,” he said. “I wouldn’t be trying to carry on what my father [did]. I’d try to make my own thing.
“My goal is to do more than what my dad did. He never got to the Super Bowl with the Browns, so that would be something I would try to do.”
Chase knows it would be tough to surpass his father’s hero status with Browns fans.
“My dad is a rock star in Cleveland. And it’s real,” he said.
It’s real right down to Frank Minnifield’s muscular calves.
“Everybody from Cleveland always checks my calves. I guess they’re kind of legendary,” Chase said.
Frank Minnifield teamed with Hanford Dixon to form the Browns’ “Corner Brothers,” immortalized on a poster of “Top Dawg” and “Mighty Minnie.” Chase said there are still several of those around the house in Lexington, Ky.
“I’m not tired of hearing it. That’s what I grew up in,” Chase said. “My dad barks every time he comes to Cleveland, so it’s not nothing new.”
If he needs a second opinion about technical aspects of his game, Chase sometimes calls Dixon. But when asked who was a better player, Chase said, “My dad. He’d kill me if I said something different.”
Chase is inspired by his father, who started his post-football life in real estate but is now focused on Toyota manufacturing. Last year he was elected chairman of the board of his alma mater, the University of Louisville.
“My dad is what I would call a true rags-to-riches story,” Chase said. “From what he’s doing now from where he came from, he’s a true inspiration. Nothing was given to him.”
Griffin sizzles in 40
Baylor’s Robert Griffin III was the buzz of the combine’s morning workouts when he was unofficially clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Griffin’s official time was later announced as 4.41, the second-fastest run by a quarterback at the combine since 2006, bested only by Texas A&M’s Reggie McNeal (4.35 in ’06). Griffin solidified his status as the No. 2 quarterback behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck and a player the Browns could possibly trade up to get.
“I knew he was going to fly,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said of Griffin, a 2008 track All-America who took third at the NCAA outdoor championships in the 400-?meter hurdles (49.55). “He was everything I expected physically on the field, as advertised. Fast guys run fast, that’s not a story to me.
“I enjoyed him on the set; I thought he was engaging. I’m going to watch tape with him on his pro day. He kind of challenged me on whether or not they have a sophisticated pass offense, which I got a kick out of.”
There’s a lot of challenging going on with Griffin. Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple was seen on television trying to persuade Griffin to throw. Mayock said the same thing to Griffin and Luck on the air Saturday.
Griffin, 6-2‹ and 223 pounds, admitted afterward that his competitiveness was kicking in.
“I kept inching forward. The Cleveland coach was telling me he could see it in me — they saw I wanted to be out there throwing,” Griffin told the NFL Network. “I tried to come out and show that I am a competitor with the running and the jumping. … I’m excited to throw, but I have to let that be another day.”
That will be at Baylor’s pro day on March 21. Griffin did record the best vertical jump among quarterbacks at 39 inches and took third in the broad jump with 10 feet.
Standing 6-4, 234› pounds, Luck also ran an impressive 40 in 4.67 seconds. He won the broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches) and was fourth in the vertical jump (36 inches).
Mayock thought Luck’s athleticism was comparable to Cam Newton, the No. 1 overall pick last year by the Carolina Panthers. Newton, 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.59, the same unofficial time Luck clocked. Luck’s broad jump was 2 inches short of Newton’s best in 2011 and his vertical was better than Newton’s by an inch.
“I think a lot of people might be surprised to compare his measurables to Cam Newton from a year ago,” Mayock said of Luck. “Cam Newton hits you over the head with a sledgehammer as far as his athletic ability. Andrew Luck is sneaky athletic. In that system he doesn’t have to do flashy things.”
Jenkins atones for past
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was kicked out of Florida in April 2011 after two arrests for marijuana possession in a span of four months. He played his final season at North Alabama for new University of Akron coach Terry Bowden.
Jenkins knows he has much to prove before the draft. He was also arrested and subdued with a stun gun in a May 2009 bar fight and ejected from an Oct. 13 North Alabama game for throwing a punch at a Delta State player. He said he has four children, ranging in age from 3 years to 3 months.
Mayock considers Jenkins a first-round talent if off-the-field concerns are discounted. Jenkins said he hasn’t smoked marijuana since he left Florida.
“I’m done with it forever, man,” he said. “It’s something I can’t let myself do again. I’ve got to separate myself from certain guys, certain people. To be successful at the next level, I can’t do the things I used to do.”
Ohio State running back Dan “Boom” Herron ran the 40 in a less-than-impressive 4.66 seconds. Buckeye wide receiver DeVier Posey turned in a 4.50. … Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on his January marijuana possession charge that was dropped: “It wasn’t mine. The guy whose it was signed an affidavit that it was his.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at http://marla.ohio.com/. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.