Chris Johnson has the fastest 40-yard dash time in NFL combine history. But does his speed measure up to the world's fastest animal on land? A television special set to air in November will provide the answer.
The Tennessee Titans running back and Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester each took turns racing a cheetah for a Nat Geo Wild special titled "Man Vs. Cheetah" that will air during its Big Cat Week, TheWrap.com reported.
The races, which took place with a barrier between the men and the animal, already have taken place, but results weren't revealed by the website.
"This is the most incredible challenge I've ever faced," Johnson told the website. "I wanted to go up against the fastest in the world and test myself, and this was it!"
Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild, said the network "loved the idea of a faceoff like no other between supreme athletes and an alpha predator."
Hester, the Bears' dangerous return man who holds the NFL record with 12 career punt return touchdowns, said being approached to race a cheetah was an "unusual proposition."
"But it was something I was ready to take on to see if I could get an edge on," Hester said.
Bears general manager Phil Emery said Wednesday he is looking forward to watching the race.
"That's good it's already happened so he wouldn't be violating any clauses in his contract in November during the season to race the cheetah," Emery said. "I'm really kind of curious. They didn't tell us how it turned out on purpose, so they're going to make us tune in. So I'm going to tune in, no doubt about it."
Johnson holds the NFL combine scouting record with his time of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash in 2008. Cheetahs have been clocked running in the wild at more than 70 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just three seconds.
Titans coach Mike Munchak was unaware Johnson took part in the TV show until he was told by reporters on Wednesday. Still, he said with a smile that he'd take Johnson to beat a cheetah in a race.
"I gotta go with our guy," Munchak said, prompting laughter from reporters in attendance. "I'm behind him, I'm a C.J. backer. I'm behind him, especially July through January. Obviously, he didn't get hurt, so that's a good thing."