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Ball shows better speed at Wisconsin pro day

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Running back Montee Ball was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.46 seconds, a big improvement over his combine time, at Wisconsin's pro day.

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The two-time All-American and NCAA's career touchdown leader ran a disappointing 4.66 last month at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

``I knew I was capable of getting under a 4.5,'' Ball said. ``So I'm pretty proud of myself. I had to prove that I can run.

``I think I've shown I'm a complete back with my (game) tape, and also what I'm capable of doing with my feet in the 40, my agility times and ability to catch the football.''

Ball was among a group of former Badgers players who worked out for a large contingent of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers on Wednesday. At least 17 teams were represented at the event, including the Packers, Ravens, Seahawks, Saints and Patriots.

Ball's 40 time at the combine ranked 19th out of 33 running backs. He says he was dealing with a sinus infection in Indianapolis that might have slowed him down.

The 2012 Doak Walker Award winner participated in short and long shuttle runs, three-cone drills and catching exercises. He passed on the bench press.

``Really, I had my mind set on the 40, but also, to show (scouts) up close and in person that I can play football,'' Ball said. ``I can go out, hit the cones and I can catch the football.''

Not satisfied with his draft grade off a pro evaluation during his junior year in 2011, Ball returned for the 2012 season and concluded his Badgers career by breaking the NCAA's career record for touchdowns with 83. He ranks second in program history with 5,140 rushing yards, and his 5.6-yard-per-carry average is third-best at Wisconsin.

A highlight of pro day for Ball was getting the opportunity to talk to Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who offered words of encouragement to Ball and other players.

``He talked to me about all the good stuff I did on tape,'' Ball said of his conversation with Thompson. ``He said, `You know how to play football and you've been doing the right things.' He was very excited about it.''

Ball has been training in Madison with strength and conditioning coach John Dettman and assistant coach and former Badgers player Jamil Walker. He doesn't know if he'll watch the NFL draft with his family or attend festivities in New York when the event begins April 25, but he's eager to see what his pro future will hold. He's been projected as a second- or third-round pick.

``In college you always think about going in the first round,'' he said. ``I would love to go first round, but honestly, I just want to get drafted.''

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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