fringe Posted August 20, 2007 Share Posted August 20, 2007 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...001&sc=1000 A sporting relationship built for speed Pete Iorizzo, Albany Times Union Sunday, August 19, 2007 - Aaron Ross, New York Giants rookie cornerback, once blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. During training camp, he spends two practices a day speeding around the field, stride-for-stride with NFL wide receivers. Ross can't beat his girlfriend in a race. Nor can he endure one of her workouts. Ross, the Giants' first-round draft pick in 2007, dates Sanya Richards, an Olympics-bound runner who holds the American record in the 400 meters. Ross is at the State University of New York at Albany fighting for a starting job in the Giants' secondary. Richards is traversing the globe to competitions in England and Japan and prepping for the Olympics. These days, they communicate through late-night phone calls and frequent text messages, exchanged in the moments their lives slow down. But theirs is a story of speed. "Let me tell you," Ross said, "she has wheels." Ross and Richards have not raced. Ross said he probably can edge his girlfriend in a short race but added, "Anything more than 100 meters, she can have." Asked if she thinks Ross is scared to race her, Richards laughed and said, "I think so." They met at the University of Texas almost four years ago. Their starting line was the cafeteria. Richards spotted Ross walking through the door and asked a friend, "Who is that boy?" She acted fast, true to form, and called him over to say hello. Later, while Ross played football and Richards ran track and field, they began to work out together. Or at least Ross tried. On Richards' self-described "easy" days, she asked Ross to run six 200s, followed by six 40s, followed by two more 200s. Ross paused for water after the third 200. "He was huffing and puffing," Richards said. Other days, Richards ran six 300s, followed by two 450s. Ross quit after the third 300, then ran one 450. "On the hard days, I just try to make it through," Ross said. Once Richards even organized a workout for some of Ross' Texas teammates. The Longhorns did not finish. "They were all looking at each other going, 'Man, we're not going to make it,' " Richards said. Ross, 24, and Richards, 22, stand at similar crossroads in their careers: Both enjoyed high school and collegiate success; both rest on the brink of even greater acclaim. Richards, a Jamaican native who moved to the United States at age 12 and later became the National Female Student-Athlete of the Year, ranked No. 1 in the world in the 400 for more than a year. She won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics for her part on the 1,600 relay team. In 2008, she hopes to add an individual medal. Ross, who led Texas last season with six interceptions, won the 2006 Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. The Giants drafted him with hopes he can provide instant support to a much-maligned defensive backfield. Ross sustained a setback last week, when injuries to his glute and hamstring sidelined him from practice and for the first preseason game. Coach Tom Coughlin concurred: "He's behind, no doubt." Ross said he can play catch-up, the same way he chased Richards through their grueling springtime workouts. "When we work out together," he said, "I've got to be on my horse." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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