A dehydrated, flu-stricken Derrick Williams heard from his father, his manager and his agent he would be crazy to compete at the NFL Combine.
Good luck getting the message through.
"Me being a hard head, I went out there and tried to work out anyway," Williams said outside Holuba Hall Wednesday afternoon after participating in Penn State's Pro Day, where the former Nittany Lions' record-setting wide receiver had his first chance at redemption after a combine performance he said he regretted.
Williams ran a 4.38 40-yard dash on his home campus after a 4.58 effort in Indianapolis, the fifth-slowest time out of the 36 wide receivers who competed, and he finished 18 repetitions on the bench press compared to 14 in Indianapolis.
Williams fought bronchitis and pneumonia at the combine, and the illnesses prevented him from working out in the week leading up to the combine. He kept his high school coach, Rick Houchens, up most of the night before Williams left for Indianapolis with constant coughing, and Williams spent the day after the combine in a hospital on IVs.
Pills to treat the bronchitis were outdated, so the medication never worked its way through Williams' body for treatment.
The night before competing, Williams told agent Chafie Fields he was participating in the combine if he woke up.
"I told him, 'Derrick, man, don't work out,' " said Fields, who carried around Williams' folded, stapled medical records in the pocket of his brown suit jacket in case his client faced questions about his health from skeptical scouts or team officials. "But I seen him the night before, and he said, 'If I wake up in the morning, I'm working out,' even though I said don't do it."
Former Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington, who helps with management and marketing, told Williams he "didn't even look like himself out there."
Still, Williams said he was so bothered by his results at the combine he spent three days depressed before breaking out of his funk.
Fields, a former Penn State wide receiver in his seventh year as an agent, called events like the combine and pro day "a necessary evil."
"Football is right on that tape," Fields said. "It don't lie. I'm not crazy about [combines] because football players play football. They don't run in shorts. They play in helmets and shoulder pads."
Fields said he felt Williams' combine results were negated by the Senior Bowl -- Williams finished with 124 all-purpose yards, the most of any player, and received strong reviews in the week of practice -- and Williams' accomplishments at Penn State.
Interest in Williams is still high, Fields said. Williams will work out privately with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and he could work out for up to nine other teams. The Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins are among the teams who have called Fields to ask if Williams would be willing to visit.
Fields cautioned against private workouts being an indicator of where Williams could land.
"This process is so funny," he said. "Chances are a team that's never showed a lot of interest in Derrick will be the team that shows the most interest in Derrick when it counts."