Darrell Green’s claim of being fastest 50-year-old is utter hokum

Darrell Green

Darrell Green used to play football, got paid lots of money. But his claim of being the fastest boomer and $2.25 will buy him a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Read this nonsense. On Monday, Darrell turned 50 and said, via his Twitter account, that he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. “Quick update from the Birthday Boy:),” he tweeted. “I think today I became the fastest 50 year old in the world! . . . I’m guessing that makes me the fastest baby boomer!” Yeah, sure. Talk, talk, talk. Show up at Sacramento nationals this summer, Darrell, and see how you fare against Michael Waller, Val Barnwell, Marty Krulee and others. If 100 meters is too tiring, try 60 at Boston next month. Anyway, 40-yard-dash times are like professional wrestling — great entertainment and wholly bogus. In April 2005, my U-T colleague Mark Zeigler exploded the myth of the football 40 in this definitive article. Congrats on your Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, DG, but we’ll withhold the “fastest boomer” title until you deserve it.

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February 17, 2010

42 Responses

  1. Rick Riddle - February 17, 2010

    I’m confident Darrell Green is fast. In fact, he may be the planet’s fastest 50 year old. However, not until he gets in the blocks in competition, his speed measured by an automatic timing device, will anyone ‘in the know’ be convinced.
    All of us have that unique masters track friend that fills the air with his or her ‘imagined’ times, run in the glory days when, oh by the way, no one they know was there to see it or time it.
    Gravity opposes all land travel, yet yields with marked ease to claims issued by voice coupled with far reaching imagination.
    On the other hand, how much fun would it be for all of us, if proven athletes like Mr. Green did indeed step onto our masters tracks and celebrate with us?

    Also, thank you for directing us to Mark Ziegler’s well written article.

  2. Herb Stein - February 17, 2010


    Don’t be so quick to dismiss Darrell Green. I agree that his 40 yard dash time seems totally off the charts for a 50-year old and that if he is really anywhere still nearly that fast, he needs to show up in Sacramento this summer and show everybody he’s still got it. But I saw no mention of his impressive track credentials in your write-up. He did run 10.08, 20.5 and 45.9 as a collegian and also played in the NFL until he was 42, at a position which places a premium on speed. So maybe there is still something there, although probably not a 4.43 40.

  3. peter taylor - February 17, 2010

    As a former NFL star, Darrell Green must surely like the limelight. I just checked the Penn Relays schedule; the 100 for men 50+ is at 3:07 pm on Friday. Someone should suggest to Darrell that he contact Phil Felton about the possibility of participating (and running before a nice crowd).

  4. Scott Meier - February 17, 2010

    As a high school strength & conditioning coach, I’ve always told my athletes to be careful when looking at 40 times (we use electronic timing when we test). I’ve always said that I could run a 4.4 40-yard dash if I’ve got the right person on the stopwatch.

  5. simpson - February 17, 2010

    fast..however who timed it?

    I’ll be 44 next week, I’ll see what I can run in a forty on the track, in spikes, timing myself…

    ha ha

  6. John - February 17, 2010

    Darrell did run an automatic timed 4.2 in 2000, when he was 40. That has nothing to do with his claim this week, but I am confident that Darrell would fare just fine in masters track. He’s one of the best defensive backs to ever walk the Earth and was the fastest player in football for many years.

  7. Keith McQuitter - February 17, 2010

    I HAVE run the 40 dash its hand time its hand time,I played football till I was 48yrs old but im a track man for life these football players never canback up what they say, unlike willie gult who has run track,cansay been there done that,I think im the fastist M50 hurdler in the world but I WOULD HAVE TO PROVE IT first,tho im not going to kamloops,i will match my times with the times run at WMA but if I was there times do come down,dont get me wrong I like mr green but you have to do talk is just talk in this sport.

  8. bobfelcher - February 17, 2010

    Ok Tim Dwight was a bona fide track star, one of the fastest NFL players of his time, he is younger than DG and oh yeah he just got spanked in the indoor race of former football players.
    I am sure Dwight came nowhere near 4.4 for the 40 in that race and he ain’t 50 years old. As any 50 y.o. athlete can tell you there is alot of physical changes that happen between 40 and 50.

  9. flash - February 17, 2010

    dont sing it bring it

  10. Marty Wright - February 17, 2010

    Running or rolling start; slow thumb on the stopwatch at the start; fast finger anticipating the finish on the stopwatch. We all know how those 40 times work. Or start whenever you are ready and I’ll time you. My guess is 4.8. Like most, I don’t doubt he is fast, just doubt the 40 time. OR maybe we shouldn’t doubt the time. The stopwatch or chrono may have actually shown 4.43.

  11. Cornell Stephenson - February 17, 2010

    I believe Darrell 100% because of what he has done in the past. I hope he does show up at nationals and shut up the haters. By the way, I’m a lifelong Redskins fan and DG is my favorite player of all time. I guess that makes me bias.

  12. Who's your daddy - February 17, 2010

    Speaking of speed; I’ve become enamored with speed skating, from the Winter Olympics. Does anyone know if there’s ever been a track success relation to speed skating. Most Olympic 500M skaters cover the course in a little over 30 seconds. The 1000M is covered around 60 seconds plus. Sounds similar to our open 300M and 500M. Also; is tere such a thing as masters speed skating ??

  13. Kevin J - February 17, 2010

    Ken, If this guy is clearly blowing smoke then why do you honor him by putting his mug and bogus claims all over your nice website…that’s exactly what he wants…I would rather see people who have earned that right…sorry.

  14. Lonnie Hooker - February 17, 2010

    Darrell Green is a very humble, classy, honorable and deeply religious man. If he said he ran a 4.43 40 yard dash, then I believe him. He used words like “think” and “guess” in his tweet referencing this most recent 40 yard dash time. He did not say “I am the fastest 50 year old.” Darrell played 20 years in the NFL as a defensive back, which is a skilled position that requires speed. He was so good that he could cover the opposing teams best receiver one-on-one. He did this for at least 15 years in the NFL, that’s amazing. I am a die-hard Skins fan and have been all my life. Mr. Green has been extremely active in the D.C. Metropolitan community and continues to do really wonderful things for those in need. According to Darrell’s website he has never smoked cigarettes, used drugs or alcohol. He has always taken care of himself by properly training, eating and living right. God has blessed him with incredible athleticism. Just like Willie Gault has been able to maintain his speed and fitness, I believe that Darrell has done the same. In college he ran 10.08 in the 100 meters, 20.50 in the 200 meters and 45.90 in the 400 meters. So this guy has God given speed. If he ever decides to compete in Masters Track and Field, it won’t be to prove anyone wrong or right, for praise or notoriety; but because he simply wants to compete.

  15. Fidel - February 17, 2010

    Kevin J.,

    Darrell Green is a classy and upfront guy. He’s not doing this to be in the limelight. As for my opinion, I don’t think he can run that fast but 4.6 is reasonable. Faster than most 50 year olds…

  16. Anthony Wallace - February 18, 2010

    What you guys dont get is that the 40 is all hand timed. they start it when the guy moves….all 40’s are hand time. if you dont believe me when they run the 40’s you time them while watching NFL network. Your time will be the same as the clock they use. O yeah here is something for you guys who think MR.DG IS NOT THE REAL DEAL. LONNIE HOOKER I SEE YOU UP HERE FROM THE MD AREA PVTC. Tell me how many of you guys have run these times Green’s all-time collegiate best in the 100 was 10.08, 20.50 in the 200 and 45.90 in the 400. I know none of you ran that 10.08 because he is on the all-time list. God gave him a gift, he gave you other guys one too on this site we will call that “hater”. GO DG!

  17. Kevin J - February 18, 2010

    Fidel, I mean no disrespect to Darrell Green but until he OFFICIALLY competes against the worlds best 50yr olds, any claims he makes is just “blowin smoke” in my opinion. “Spike up” Darrell, talk is cheap.

  18. Milton Girouard - February 18, 2010

    If Mr. Green feels the need to appease the Masters T&F masses with proof of his speed he only need enter and compete at a University meet in his area or certain sanctioned USATF meets so that his time is recorded properly with accepted timing equipment of the day. A few seem to be confusing possible improper timing issues on behalf of Mr. Green, to having him compete at a National Championships meet. There are other meets that use proper timing equipment so one has nothing to do with the other. If your saying he MUST compete at a National Championships or no matter what time he posts at any another meet is irrelavant, then I’d have to say some of you are very full of yourselves. Competing at a Masters National or World Championships meet, the way it’s set up now, has nothing to do with being the best in the Nation or World. A good percentage of the best masters in the Nation or World don’t compete at these championships and the winners are the ones that happened to show. It is not like the Olympics where no one can hide from the best in the world because they all show up regardless of finance or any other issues. I’m sure Mr. Green can afford to fly out to Sac. or where ever the World championships are to be held and compete, but I’m not going to tell a grown man what to do with his money. If he competes at any meet with time measuring that is acceptable to all and clocks some ungodly fast time, Then you’ll just have to accept he’d smoke you on the track. When I lived in the San Fracisco Bay Area and Brian Oldfield was throwing into his early to mid 40’s , did anyone one of you throwers out there go up to him and say, “I’m the 40-44 USA Shot Put Champion, so it must mean I’m better than you because you didn’t compete at the Masters National Chmpionships” ? He had bigger fish to fry making the USA Olympic trials and you just accepted he’d whip your ass in competition unless you were throwing in the mid-to-upper 60’s at that time. So lets just hang up that old arguement about Masters Championships being the measure of who’s best in Masters T&F. It’s not. It’s a fun get-away to be around others that have a common bond with you, so that you can see your not the only crazy one out there training so hard, this old, in the same events. Masters Championships can be great and has its place, but in my opinion, it’s not giving a title of best of anything, other than the best that showed up on that particular day.

  19. peter taylor - February 18, 2010

    This (‘The Darrell Green Affair”) is actually quite complicated, and it raises quite a few issues: (1) Should Bill Collins, who holds the world mark for M50 of 10.95 in the 100, be regarded as the fastest M50+ sprinter in history, or should that honor go to Darrell Green? Or are there several others out there, as yet unidentified, who could do better?

    (2) Is it possible that a man 50 or over could actually run 10.60 or even faster?

    (3) How do you translate the time for 40 yards to a 100-meter time?

    (4) We know, as Milton Girouard indicates, that winning the gold at nationals does not equal “best in US” (although it might). But how big or how small have our dreams been? If Darrell Green came out and ran 10.60 FAT, let us say, at a real meet, that would fascinate us. Wow, what have we been missing? If, on the other hand, he came out and ran 11.35, that would say something else.

    If I ask any male employee at the grocery store tonight who Darrell Green is, every one of them will know. If I ask who Bill Collins is, everyone will say “never heard of him.” That is what makes this so fascinating; will someone from the big outside world teach us something about “real speed,” or will our own heroes remain unscathed? Many masters want to know.

  20. bobfelcher - February 18, 2010

    To #18 & 19
    By your logic which i agree with to a certain extent there is no “best” only the best that showed that day.
    However you make a distinction between masters & the Olympics, actually that is wrong.
    It is possible for there to be people in the world who could win a major meet, even the Olympics and yet decided to do something else with their lives.
    I have seen it with my own eyes and experienced it myself. I know of a runner who was faster than most college runners in Socal during the 70’s while he was still in HS. He however was good in a variety of sports and endeavors, which he pursued. He continued to run one year in college and a few open meets with no running training whatsoever, just residual ability and he continued to win races. I know people who are enamored with running would never believe it but the people who saw it know it was true. So if you believe DG is capable of the times he claims you better believe in other people as well not just DG.

  21. Milton Girouard - February 18, 2010

    Mr. Taylor brings up many great points. The only way I see to get this self-advertised, fastest 50-54 male sprinter quote by Mr. Green resolved is finding an e-mail for him or office phone number and possibly have a meet director, coach, even a USATF regional official in Mr. Green’s area of residence or work, cordialy invite him to a run at a Collegiate Open meet or USATF Regional meet that would be few weeks down the road so he could minimally prepare for it. The key to this would be communicating with Mr. Green. If whoever got in contact with him , let him also know of the many great ex-NFL athletes such as Willie Gault, James Lofton, Todd Christiansen to name a few, that have competed in Masters T&F as well and that true speed in the 50-54 age group is nothing new to Masters T&F. Lastly, Bill Collins will always be the “King of the Hill” in that part of the sprint world until someone knocks him off of it. He’s earned that title with his outstanding performances at all his meets competed in, not just Championships.

  22. Milton Girouard - February 18, 2010

    Mr. Felcher, If you say it happened, I have no reason to not believe you. I’m sure there is a football lineman out there somewhere, Olympic weightlifter, or Australian rules football player that can throw the shot put a mile, but he chose another sport that meant more to him. I’m speaking of athletes that are specifically track and field athletes out of choice. In my time watching and following the Olympics, I’ve yet to hear of a top ten ranked athlete in the world, much less an athlete who just qualified for the Games, decide he had better things to do with his time than go to the Olympics and represent his country other than if he was a professional athlete in another sport, political reasons, afraid to be drug tested etc. I know someone will write, “I knew someone who had family member that was ill and they didn’t go…”, and so forth. You all know what I mean.

  23. bobfelcher - February 18, 2010

    Mr Girouard while i know what you mean that doesnt change the principle behind the idea of someone with the ability to be the best who chooses not to pursue the career of track & field. For decades in America it was more the norm to get on with your life and leave track to the college kids. Most Professional baseball & football players of the past had off season jobs such as insurance salesman, car salesman etc, So this idea of people pursing an athletic career to the pinnacle of their ability is more of a recent development. Some great athletes just might have had the same mentality as athletes of years past. That would not be an unreasonable assumption. And some people believe it or not, do not wish to be the center of attention. American culture is a melting pot and just because the media wants everyone to lust for their 15 minutes of fame their are still niches of people who hold values contrary to being a reality show icon. While you may wish that everyone holds the same values that you do, the simple fact is they don’t. Not everyone has the same idea as to what constitutes “success”. To give a quick example, there is a cyclist who basically challenges himself not by winning races but by being a good person and drawing attention to cycling. He was a legend of sorts, He drew the attention of a major coach & cycling team. However even though he was competitive, he was reluctant to do the things neccessary to win. He didn’t care for tactics he basically just rode as hard as he could for as long as he could. Why? He didn’t care about winning, that was not part of his values. He didn’t want to be “better” than someone else, he just wanted to do his best.

  24. Ken Stone - February 18, 2010

    Just FYI:

    Minutes after I wrote this post, I shipped the link to Darrell at the email address given on his official site:

    Haven’t heard from him yet, but I’m confident he’ll respond eventually.

    Good idea about cordially inviting him to a local USATF meet. Masters nationals would be nice, but not critical to seeing how fast he is.

  25. Ed - February 19, 2010

    why does it matter? sounds like everyone has valid points. there are those who have been able to run that fast once in their life and there are those who will never know what that speed feels like. And true, unless someone puts it on TV or the internet, noone believes anything. in this day and age, a man’s word appears to mean nothing. So, who is going to be the catalyst to get him to race others and admire speed you never had or admire speed you once thrived on…

  26. Kevin J - February 19, 2010

    You guys are getting a little off point here. If Darrell Green doesn’t “want ” to be better than anyone else or doesn’t feel the need to compete against the worlds best masters,or shouldn’t have to because we should just take him for his word, then he shouldn’t go around on tweeter or anywhere else saying “he’s the worlds fastest 50yr old” without proving it. Certain folks take offense to those kinds of claims…like the people who prove it year after year… That’s what started this whole discussion. To me it’s very simple, spike up or shut up.

  27. Ty P - February 19, 2010


    It may help motivate Darrell to show up for a meet if he saw this discussion. When I posted the article on your forum, that is actually what I hoped would happen. People doubt him and see if he could show and prove it. Willie does. How many people would believe it if a 49 year old ex NFL player, regardless of his old track times, claimed he was the fastest in the 100 or 200? Not many. For Darrell, assuming he hasn’t been training, the 60 is his best bet. Again, I just want to see how fast he still is.

  28. Kevin J - February 19, 2010

    One last comment from me…If you or I said we were the worlds fastest 50yr old, people would laugh and dismiss it, but when someone of D.G.’s stature and noteriety says it, they should be prepared to back it up with substantial proof. To date, there isn’t any. Perhaps in the future? Right now it’s just a “tease”. I’m out.

  29. Joe - February 20, 2010

    If Darrel said that he ran that fast, then I will take him for his word. I am not surprised about his time at all, but it would be great to see him race the world best runner. Hell, I can run a 4.6 with no speed work easy. Darrel Green, always had world class speed, keep that in mind. There are many runners who are fast that don’t race at all.

  30. Anthony Wallace - February 24, 2010

    Its great to see many post on this issue. Again, I am a Cowboys fan, but that dude Darrell Green is fast. I still remember them showing him run a 4.3 40yd dash on the news. Me and My father mouths dropped and both said ‘D@/\/\N’ at the same time. I want to run that fast when Im that age. The funny part is Allen Johnson is going to crush all of these records if he sees fit. Just wait, then it will be he didnt run it at the Masters, he aint the fastes.

  31. simpson - February 24, 2010

    Sunday, on track, with spikes slight tailwind, 72 degrees, hand-timed by a HS coach I ran 5 40’s averaging 4.47..age 44….

    gotta give it to DG, that’s fast..

  32. Ken Stone - March 3, 2010

    Darrell gave an Orlando Sentinel reporter a strange, rambling answer on the 4.43 time:

    OS: You ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash on your 50th birthday. How do you manage to stay in such great shape?

    DG: It’s my lifestyle. It’s my attitude. It’s what I put in my body. I didn’t run that 40 to do an interview with you. I ran it because I’m 50 years old, I’m glad to wake up being 50 years old and live that long, and I wanted to do something fun for me. Ultimately it got all the way out the world. I twittered just kind of having fun, but it’s really taken on a life of its own. I’m Darrell Green. I didn’t get to be who I am, [playing] in the nation’s capital for 20 years, President [George W.] Bush appointed me [chairman of the president’s council on service and civic participation], working with you, to come and be 50 years old and lie and say I’ve done something I didn’t do. If I didn’t really do it then it would have never been said. But no, I believe that a 50 year old and the idea of being 50 is not the new 40. Fifty is 50. I am 50. I feel 50. But 50 can still be booming, it can still be exciting and you can still do fun things. You can still achieve and ultimately, that’s what I’m trying to turn it into a message of and begin to tell people because it sort of brought out a lot of questions to tell people, ‘What are some of my secrets, what did you do Darrell and how did you do it,” because people get scared to get old. You’re a young man. People get, “Oh well, I’m 50, you’re 50.” 50 is booming man. 50 is fun. Now it’s not the same as 40 or 30 or 20, but it’s what it is and it’s fun too. I’m not ashamed of being my age. And we’re the biggest demographic in the country. People 50 and over, the baby boomers, we’re the biggest demographic, so looking at that I’m like, “wow,” you know. But when I did the 40, I didn’t do it for some weird thing. But by the same token, the time was so out there I was like, “whoa,” it kind of caught me like that, like, “wow, this is awesome.” I think ultimately I’ll be able to encourage a lot of people over time, you know, who are probably nervous about that.

  33. Steven Chilton - April 19, 2010

    Willie Gault currently holds the 45 age group record. Darrell beat him twice back in the day. Considering Darrell played until he was 42, much longer than Gault, I could assume he’s still faster. I think Darrell breaks that record by .15 sec.

  34. Randy Harris - June 17, 2010

    I am 54.6 years old , and clocked a 5.75. I am awful happy with that. My goal is to stay under 6 when I hit 60. I can see Darrell Green going that fast (4.43 ) no problem. You don’t have to fall apart when you hit 50.

  35. JohnG - November 19, 2010

    Blogger… do you have some kind of personal vendetta against Darrell Green? You come off as a venomous, ignorant, jealous self-righteous idiot. #1. Green was obviously posting that comment in a light-hearted way. He doesn’t care about being the world’s fastest 50-yr old… it was all in fun. #2. Get your facts straight about Green’s running ability. The guy was a track star before getting drafted and has maintained his speed throughout his life (hence the moniker ‘ageless wonder’). He still had great speed in his early 40s, so if he’s not the fastest 50 yr-old, he’s definitely ONE of the fastest. Get over it.

  36. Jerrell Green - January 19, 2011

    Dear Mr. Stone,
    If you think my father’s tweets are such nonsense, why would you go out of your way to post this story on your site? Before you decide to question someone’s honesty and integrity, you should try loosening up a bit. He did run a 4.43 on his 50th birthday, but what he said about being the fastest baby boomer is just joking around for his fans on twitter. All of you bloggers and commenters who feel the need to talk bad about him (and other people for that matter) should think about the fact that he has a family and friends who love and respect him. How would you feel if someone got online and tried to discredit you? Even more, how would you feel if your daughter went online and read those things? Maybe you need to re-learn the childhood lesson, do unto others as you would have them do unto you and keep your rude comments to yourself.

  37. Sprtzlvr13 - September 2, 2011

    You know nothing shucks Darrell Green beat Gold medalist Willie Gault , he was also electronically timed. Darrell is widely regarded as one of the fastest athletes to ever play any sport.

  38. brotha68 - April 28, 2012

    .Darrell Green has ALWAYS been one of the fastest men on the planet… there isn’t any question about that statement. The man ran great times in college and throughout his professional career. He tracked down olympic medalist Ron Brown during a Monday Night Football contest as well as beat Willie Gault in a 60 yard dash. Green is not some blowhard, but a bonafide speed guy that can run with ANYONE

  39. Bigboi - October 8, 2013

    I beleive Mr. Green. I am a 40 year old man that weighs 310 pounds and at 310 pounds can still run a high 4.7 40 yard dash. Some people are just freaks of nature. We all know Darrell Green was one of the fastest men around in his day. At 42 years old playing DB. Now Thats crazy but he did it.

  40. KARL HANS MOORE - March 9, 2014


  41. Stephen - August 28, 2014

    Just thought some of you might find this interesting:
    List of players Darrell has ran down like dogs during his career:

    Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Jerry Rice, Napoleon Kauffman, Frank Sanders,
    Curtis Martin, Roy Green

    Personal bests: (These are non-sanctioned in terms of the Track world and are
    thus unofficial.)
    40 yards: 4.14
    60 yards: 6.09 (distance used at the NFL’s fastest man competitions)
    100 meters: 9.98 (3/100ths of a second off the world record when Darrell
    clocked it; 1983.)
    200 meters: 19.98

    —Won all four NFL’s Fastest Man competitions in which he entered. Darrell
    was 12-0 in races during those events and beat the likes of Ron Brown (twice),
    Anthony Miller, Rod Woodson (pre-knee operation), Sam Graddy, WIllie Gault,
    Phillip Epps, Alexander Wright, Mel Gray and James Jett.
    —Set the NFL’s Fastest Man record at 6.09 back in the inaugural competition
    in 1986. Twelve years later, the record still stands. Incidentally, the 6.09
    is 8/100th’s of a second slower than the world record.
    —Defeated ALL four members of the world record-setting 1984 Olympic USA
    4X100m relay team: Ron Brown, Willie Gault, Sam Graddy and Carl Lewis in head
    to head competitions. Brown, Gault, and Graddy he defeated in various NFL’s
    Fastest Man races, while Lewis was defeated in the 40 yard dash in the 1991
    event “World’s Fastest Athlete.” Darrell won that competition, too.

    At age 38, Darrell was still running sub-4.3 in the 40. In full pads, helmet
    and gear, he was clocked at 4.39 in the 1997-98 offseason. BTW, get off the hand timed crapped because, unless the timer is a cheat, hand timing usually adds a little time to sprint instead of taking it off.

  42. Syb Hassen - September 10, 2014

    I can relate to Darrell keeping his speed up. For a few years now using http://www.twicethespeed.com speed drills and exercises, at 55 years of age I may finally try that higher gear that’s like going a little beyond what a body is actually capable of, resulting a much higher probability of strains. I believe that preventing stains is more the battle than reaching certain speed. I hope that Darrell continues to let us know what he clocks at as he ages. I’d love to see a video of his routine. As a person ages, how long they can stay under a 5.0 40 is very interesting to me and my biggest challenge.

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