- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Detroit Lions reporter
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Kovacs and Robinson set up a three-event competition for the pro day. Loser buys dinner at The Chop House, an expensive downtown Ann Arbor steakhouse.
This could come as a potential surprise, but Robinson will be the one paying.
“Oh man, stop. Stop bringing it up,” Robinson said, laughing. “He did great today and take my hat off to him. I knew he’d do great today.”
While the former Michigan quarterback turned wide receiver did not do much other than positional drills at wide receiver, running back and punt returner during the Michigan pro day, Kovacs stood out.
The former Michigan safety beat Robinson’s times in the 20-yard shuttle -- which he ran in 4.19 seconds -- and the three-cone drill, which he completed in 6.62 seconds. Robinson’s NFL combine times in those drills were 4.22 in the 20-yard shuttle and 7.09 seconds in the three-cone drill.
Robinson handled Kovacs in the 40-yard dash, running 4.43 seconds at the combine to Kovacs' 4.6 seconds at pro day.
Kovacs entered Thursday knowing he needed to prove his speed and athleticism. Beating Robinson in the competition, along with a good bench-press score for a safety (16 repetitions), helped to prove that.
The Curtice, Ohio, native maintained, though, that while doing well in drills was good for him, it is about what he can do on the field that matters more.
“It’s different. We’re training for the underwear Olympics today; it isn’t football,” Kovacs said. “Coach [Aaron] Wellman did a great job of not overdoing it. A lot of guys will go places and think you’ve got to kill yourselves.
“Coach Wellman, we worked on power. I’m not in great football shape right now. Conditioning-wise, I’m not where I need to be but we weren’t worried about that. I was worried about running 40 yards and I think I did that today.”
Robinson and Kovacs were the two Michigan players who chose to stay in Ann Arbor and the Michigan facilities to train for turning professional, yet another link the two have. Michigan’s two captains last season, they ended up training together while finishing their undergraduate classes in order to graduate in May.
Robinson would be the first in his family to graduate from a four-year college, and that is very important to him. He said he never considered leaving Ann Arbor without his degree in hand.
“I’m taking five classes and working out and putting in the time,” Robinson said. “I want to prove something. I want to get my degree.
“... I want to be a role model to my nieces and nephews to be a role model for them and school was important to me.”
Together they were diligent on both their workouts, where Robinson is converting to a receiver, and their diet. They were planning to celebrate being done by being able to eat their favorite guilty pleasures -- Oreo cookies for Kovacs and honey buns for Robinson.
They were planning on doing that -- and then eventually grabbing steak dinner as well. On Robinson.
Said Kovacs: “I’m going to enjoy that.”
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jordan Kovacs didn’t need much more motivation for Michigan’s pro day on Thursday, but just in case, his workout partner Denard Robinson gave him some anyway.