Before Willie Gault was an NFL wide receiver, he was a track star at the University of Tennessee. In fact, he would have competed in the 1980 Summer Games if the United States hadn't boycotted.
Gault is best known for his five seasons with the Bears, including the 1985 Super Bowl year, where he used his blazing speed to outrun defenses. As a rookie, he averaged 20.9 yards per reception, and later in his career with the Raiders he averaged 24.5 and 24.6 yards per reception in back-to-back seasons.
Well, Gault, now 50, is still a burner. He recently told the DailyHerald.com that part of the reason he has world-class speed is because "I never really stopped [training]. I just never took much time off."
That’s part of the reason the 50-year-old Gault recently set masters age-group world records by running the 100 meters in 10.88 seconds and the 200 meters in 22.44 seconds last month at the Occidental Invitational in Los Angeles. He also set 45-49 age-group world records in both events with a 10.72 in the 100 and a 21.80 in the 200
According to the article, Gault can still run the 40 in 4.4 (that's 0.22 seconds faster than what Saints first-round pick RB Mark Ingram managed at the NFL Combine in February), which isn't much slower than what he clocked in at a quarter-century ago.
"I think (track) is better than football as a pure sport," Gault told the DailyHerald.com. "You don’t have to rely on anyone else to be successful. In football, you have to rely on the coach to call the right play, the line to block and the quarterback to get you the ball. In track I train hard, I get in the blocks, and then I just have to beat the guys next to me."
There also aren't any work stoppages in track.
One of Gault's NFL contemporaries, former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, ran the 40 on his 50th birthday back in February 2010. He only managed a 4.43. Clearly, he should be training with Gault.