Rocket Ismail Still Runs a 4.3, Wants Another Chance in NFL

Rocket Ismail, the most electrifying player ever to play for the Fighting Irish, spurred the NFL for big money from the CFL (how crazy does that sound all these years later?), but at age 37, he is hoping for another shot in the NFL according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, the former Cowboys receiver and Notre Dame superstar, is hoping for another chance in the NFL.

Ismail, who is 37 and lives in Dallas, works out daily and said he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds during a workout last season for the Washington Redskins. He wants a shot at winning a Super Bowl which eluded him during his nine-year NFL career with three teams.

If Rocket can still run a 4.3 at age 37, there could still be a place for him in the NFL if for nothing else, as a punt and kick returner.

Right now, if I walk in most of the teams are talking third receiver and special teams stuff. It’s a gift that I have. I just keep it sharp and hold it. My thing is speed and my hands are still there.

What I find interesting in this article, however, are Rocket’s claims that he dumbed down his game in order to fit in better…

One of the things I encountered when I would go to teams, there would be certain people you could sense the envy and the feeling of being threatened. One of the things I did was I tried to play below what the normal level I was accustomed to playing. I would do that to lessen the hate. After you do that for a certain amount of time, you realize that’s not right and you try to re-establish yourself.

I’m not quite sure I buy into this because I am sure all the teams Rocket played for would have loved for him to be the kind of game-breaker at the NFL level that he was on the college level. I’ve never heard a player say they dumbed down their game before either which makes these type of comments a little suspect.

Still, if Rocket can still play I wouldn’t mind watching him play as long as he wasn’t on the Cowboys, a team I despise, again. Hey Rocket, my beloved Eagles haven’t returned a kick or punt for a touchdown in a couple years, how about wearing some midnight green if you come back?

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  1. Its sounds to me like he is conveying his reality at that time. I would much rather hear the context in which he said it, as opposed to a sound bite. Even still, he doesnt deserve to be slammed for asking for another shot. He seems as though he was admitting to his lack of being competitive, which is how the elite get to the top. He had to live with not getting back to the top, more than anyone else. Whatever he needs to say or do to find peace within, so be it. We live and we learn and if I were a coach I would give him a shot. He seems to have changed his mind about his less than 110% effort. If coming clean is what it took, and risking being criticized, then more power to him. I am still a fan, and I think everyone has to deal with defeat (self induced or not) the best way they can. So I say, Go Rocket! Actions speak louder than words! Just give us 150% this time!

  2. Can’t disagree w/ you CC, but this is the pros & as long as idiots like TO, Leonard Little, etc. get 2nd & 3rd chances, Rocket will, too. So if a team is impressed w/ his workout (granted that’s a big “if”), they won’t care if he’s 60 yrs old, if they think he can help them whether it be as a special teams player, a role player or a 3rd receiver. What Rocket said was pretty insulting to our intelligence, yet dumber things have been said by current NFLers & I don’t expect it to end.

  3. Just because you’re fast doesn’t mean you can take a hit — an NFL hit — particularly at the speeds he’s talking about. The comment that he “dumbed down” his game is just flat out dumb and, if I was a coach, that alone would tell me to stay away from this guy. How many times did he hear coaches and players exhort him (along with all his teammates) to give 110%? And, what? He decided that that meant 86.63%? Give me a break! If he’s serious about this he should refund money to the teams that were paying him to give 100%. He should be too ashamed to make those comments, even if they are self-serving and provide an alibi that might explain why a team should still consider him. In the end, it’s a bad ploy because it probably tells teams why they should resist temptation more than anything. And, if nothing else, it says that this 37 year-old has the wisdom of a 17 year-old and doesn’t even bring the wisdom that should come with age. I loved the Rocket in college and thought “good for him” for choosing big bucks over NFL glory. But he made his choice and gave up the best years of his career to the CFL. He can’t have his cake and eat it too…even if he was biting off less than he could chew when dessert was being served. Peace.

  4. I agree! Why not! If he still has the speed, a team like the Niners could use him. They need some speed and it would be nice for a guy like him to line up with Arnaz Battle once in a while and play on the same team as the great Bryant Young!

  5. Rocket coming back? Why not, the NFL is diluted w/ mediocrity at just about every position anyway. Every team has a legitimate shot at the postseason every year. That’s why I prefer college over pro game.

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