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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



February 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM

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Huskies RB Chris Polk trims down for combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- Chris Polk has lost 9 pounds in the past month, and he weighed 215 pounds at the NFL scouting combine.

The University of Washington running back was 224 at the Senior Bowl last month in Mobile, Ala., and said he left there feeling he needed to trim down.

"I wasn't really comfortable with my weight," Polk said. "I didn't like being that weight. I didn't like the way my body looked. I was flexing, not too many muscles were showing, and I would definitely say that the Senior Bowl weigh-in was definitely a wake-up call. Because I'm walking down the middle and I see no one's turning their heads. I'm like, yeah, something's wrong here. I just wanted to lose weight for me as a personal thing to show GMs and coaches that I'm dedicated and I do care."

Polk finished his fourth season at Washington, but had one year of eligibility remaining because he had taken a medical redshirt.

Trent Richardson of Alabama is considered the top back available in this year's draft, and after that it's wide open and Polk has a chance to be the second back taken.

Teams are going to scrutinize his health, though. He underwent three different magnetic-resonance image (MRI) tests this week, one on each knee and then his shoulder, which had to be operated on early in his college career. In fact, Polk spent so much time at the hospital undergoing tests that he fell asleep during one of the MRIs on his knee, and wound up kicking against the machine in his sleep because he was dreaming about running the 40-yard dash.

This player was created in August 2010 to take advantage of smart player technology. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites..

Keep reading to get the transcript of Polk's interiew. Q: Still retained all that strength?

Polk: Oh yeah.

Q: Is that something you take pride in, being a strong runner?

Polk: It's something I take pride. One of the most important things to me in the game of football is respect. I just want to earn respect, and make sure my opponent respects me, my coach respects me. I really pride myself on that concept because there's non lift that you can possibly do in that weight room to prepare you. It's an attitude. It comes down to how much heart you have.

Q: Where does that come from?

Polk: It just comes from your desire because every time I touch the ball, I'm thinking touchdown. It may not make sense, but I love hitting, but I hate being tackled. I hate being tackled. Every time I'm tackled -- whether it's by being put on my back or an ankle tackle -- I just get mad. I get down. I just get angry. I just want to keep running and running until I reach that end zone.

Q: How nice was the transition of your career at Washington. You guys were not very good and you got to go to a bowl game.

Polk: If we would have won that bowl game against Baylor, it probably would have been a Hollywood ending. It's just crazy how fast things change. That my college has been such a roller coaster. I've been down. I was at such an all-time low where I didn't even know if I wanted to play football no more. Then just praying on it, talking to my Mom, and really sticking to it. Then I'm here now. I'm really blessed to be in a situation now. And I'm really blessed that I was able to be part of something great and help rebuild a program. It's just amazing how much things change, and I was really fortunate to watch all my teammates grow up in front of my eyes and change into better people and individuals.

Q: That's saying a lot, that you didn't want to play anymore.

Polk: Yeah, it was. I graduated high school early, and I was starting, and then I'm out with a season-ending injury and we're 0-12. I was committed to USC so I was kind of like, 'OK, well did I make the right decision going here? Is this my wrong college? I probably messed up something.' But coach (Steve Sarkisian) being hired put everything into perspective for that everything happens for a reason. I was meant to come here because rather than him being at USC, I got all their coaches up here. It was the cherry on top of the cake.

Q: And now USC's coach is across the lake so you know Pete.

Polk: Yeah, I know Pete. He and I go way back.

Q: He was in your house recruiting you, right? Polk: Yeah, he was in my house. I actually have pictures of him in my house back when I was 200 even. That was a real fun time back then.

Q: What are the main things that teams are asking you?

Polk: I don't really have any character issues, I wouldn't say, or anything of that manner. But they're all asking how fast am I, what can I do. Now, I've said I can catch. It's kind of weird to me because I was only a running back one year in high school and I played receiver and came in as a receiver and running back.

Q: Is that one of the best things about you, your receiving skills?

Polk: Yeah, I'm versatile. I can do it all. I can run, block, catch, all of that. It's just a matter of me executing my technique rather than relying on just the physical abilities and just staying mentally attuned to my technique and staying fundamentally sound.

Q: How long did your medical examination take?

Polk: I would say, the first day I got there at 9 a.m. and didn't get back to the hotel until about 2. It was kind of crazy. I kind of felt like a big slab of meat because I'm the only guy in there with the X-ray package like this thick. The first time I put it in there hands, it's like, 'Oh my goodness.' And they look at it.

You go in the middle of my room, I'm sitting there, and they say everything, and every doctor, they all stand up and come look at me. Like, 'Can you lay down a little bit.' It could have been in Spanish because I didn't know what they were saying. It was just crazy. Then you go to the next room and it would all happen again. I thought I was home free then I had to go back to the hospital because someone wanted something else. I would say I started there about 9 and didn't get done until about 3.

Q: That was the second day?

Polk: Yeah, the second day. The first day, I had to have three MRIs. Both of my knees and a shoulder, and it's kind of funny story. I had to redo two MRIs. I'm in there, and I fall asleep because my legs are in there. I had a dream I was running my 40 so I kicked the top of the machine, like I jerked real bad. I finally got to fall asleep. My 40 start was good, but it wasn't reality.


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