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Friday, March 8, 2013
TAMU pro day: Moore welcomes challenge

By Sam Khan Jr.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Defensive end Damontre Moore has been through his fair share of adversity through his Texas A&M career, so these days he's not the type to worry about it when he faces it.

But his performance at the NFL scouting combine last month -- specifically in the bench press -- affected him differently. It humbled him significantly.

Damontre Moore
Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore shored up his bench press performance Friday, making up for his struggles at the NFL scouting combine.
Moore admittedly isn't a weight room warrior, so he wasn't expecting to blow other defensive linemen out of the water with his number of repetitions at 225 pounds. But the number he posted, the number that stuck out like a sore thumb on his combine résumé -- 12 -- was one that brought him to tears.

"I was really disappointed, upset," Moore said on Friday inside the McFerrin Athletic Center after Texas A&M's pro day. "I even cried like a little baby. I cried in the corner and then came back and start encouraging."

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound prospect laughed and smiled about it on Friday, because it's in the past now. During the Aggies' pro day, Moore put up a better number in the bench press -- 19 -- but it still wasn't an ideal performance. During the three-cone drill, he aggravated a hamstring injury that he suffered at the combine, so it wasn't his best output.

"I tweaked my hamstring but I fought through it and I feel like I put my best foot forward," Moore said. "At the end of the day, that's all you can do. I'll let God take over the rest."

Moore did not run the 40-yard dash in part because of the injury, standing pat with his time of 4.95 seconds that he posted in Indianapolis. The Dallas product added 10 pounds since the combine, weighing in at 260 on Friday. In the three-cone drill, most hand-timed in the high-4.2-second to low-4.3-second range in the short shuttle and about 7.0-7.1 seconds in the three-cone drill. He also participated in linebacker drills for 3-4 defensive teams that might look at Moore as a potential outside linebacker, a position he played at Texas A&M before 2012.

"I wanted to put on weight so I could show people that I could run and move and do it at that weight," Moore said.

Despite the injury, Moore was pleased with his performance and took the questions about his bench press performance in Indianapolis in stride. Though he was humbled by the outcome, he didn't allow the criticism that came in the aftermath to negatively affect him. He used it instead as fuel.

"Once I saw the comments and stuff, it just motivated me because I feel like my whole life I've been playing from behind and people saying I can't do this," Moore said. "That's when I get the most motivation and I'm more eager to do work, because somebody challenges me. I want to meet that challenge and prove them wrong. So I kind of liked it and thought it was a little humorous."

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, who coached Moore in his final season with the Aggies, feels like Moore's on-field performance speaks for itself.

"You utilize the bench press to get off the ground," Sumlin said. "There's a lot of people that put up really good numbers that don't end up playing at all. I think for him, the key will be the evaluation off of video and how he played.

"Certainly, people wouldn't regard him the way they do as a projected first-round pick if he hadn't played extremely well. There's a combination of different thoughts, different opinions. I'm not a guy that's involved in the draft, but obviously a lot of people have a very high opinion of Damontre. And that comes off of the way he played. He played with great effort, was extremely productive and had a tremendous year playing for us last year."

Oakland Raiders head coach and former Texas A&M player and coach Dennis Allen said Moore shows good qualities on film.

"When you turn on the tape, I think you see a guy who's a good athlete and a very productive football player," Allen said. "Part of the process is getting to know the kid a little bit more and the things that drive him."

Though some might question his draft stock in the aftermath of the combine, even after a season in which Moore posted team highs of 85 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks en route to second-team All-America honors, Moore isn't worried about who is doubting him.

"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, myself included," Moore said. "I've judged people in the past and they've surprised me. So hopefully, I've showed them that you can't ever count me out. I thank them too, at the same time, because that motivated me more to show them what I'm capable of and that this doesn't define my football career."