BERKELEY -- The moment running back Brendan Bigelow spent months preparing for got off to a fast start Tuesday. Two seconds later it was over, up in smoke as the result of a strained hamstring.
Or so Bigelow thought. Instead, he opted to finish his 40-yard dash so that he at least had something to show for the representatives of NFL teams in attendance at Cal's pro day at Memorial Stadium.
Bigelow clocked a 4.48-second time in the 40-yard dash, according to several people who timed the event. Not quite the 4.2 Bigelow expected, but pretty impressive for someone who battled through a hamstring injury from the midpoint of his run.
"It's a shocker because I was expecting like a 4.6 or a 4.7," Bigelow said. "But I ran a pretty good time, even with a pulled hamstring."
The 4.48 is a solid time for a running back. Bigelow said he's hopeful that the 40 or so representatives from 29 NFL teams in attendance factored in his injury and graded him higher.
Bigelow worked hard to rebound from a knee injury that dogged him last season. He said his knee is at full strength now. The hamstring injury came out of nowhere, the first time he has had an issue with that part of his body.
"I put a lot of work in, I've been prepping for this for a while, about three months," Bigelow said. "It's devastating, man. I'm always going to keep my head up high and just keep soaring because that's all I know."
The Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the only teams without a representative at Cal on Tuesday. No reason was given. Perhaps it's because Cal lacks a top-notch prospect for one of the few times in recent memory.
There aren't any sure-fire first-round draft picks among the prospects that worked out Tuesday in front of a crowd that included former Cal standouts such as Marshawn Lynch and Jahvid Best, and current Cal starting quarterback Jared Goff.
However, players such as linebacker Khairi Fortt, tight end Richard Rodgers and defensive lineman Deandre Coleman are projected as mid- to late-round picks in the NFL draft in May.
All three acquitted themselves well Tuesday. This marked the second time they performed in front of a sizable group of NFL scouts, coaches and front-office types.
The first time came at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February.
Rodgers said he hoped for a better showing than he had in Indianapolis. That's precisely what he did, by all accounts.
Rodgers made several impressive catches, including one on a pass thrown behind him that he tipped into the air, adjusted his body and hauled in as he spun around.
That elicited ooohhs and aaahhhs from those on the field and in the stands. Most important, he said, the setup Tuesday played to Rodgers' strengths in terms of calling for a variety of pass routes.
It also helped, he said, that he and his Cal mates were in a familiar setting.
"It's easier just because you're in your environment and you've played college football here for your career," Rodgers said. "The days leading up to (this) are not as strenuous as in the combine."
It showed, too, as Rodgers moved well, ran crisp routes and caught everything he got his hands on, even if the pass was off the mark.
The strong showing eased some of the sting from not performing as well as hoped for in Indianapolis.
"I just didn't have my best day," Rodgers said of the scouting combine. "I didn't do bad at all. ... It was a good workout today."
Follow Steve Corkran on Twitter at twitter.com/CorkOnTheNFL.