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Irish Insights

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Pro Day recap

Former Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph had one goal during Thursday's Pro Day – show that his hamstring injury was far behind him.

And the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder feels he did that.

"They wanted to see I'm healthy," said Rudolph, who is six months removed from surgery on his right hamstring. "You can say I'm healthy, people can tell them I'm healthy, but until you see it -- with as severe an injury as I had, to be back to normal six months later -- it's tough. Not many people do it. They heard it, and everyone told them I was healthy. But to finally come out here and see it is what they really wanted."

Rudolph worked out with eight other former Irish players during the Pro Day inside the university's indoor practice facility. There were 28 representatives from the 32 NFL teams on hand.

Rudolph, who didn't work out at the NFL combine and is the top-rated tight end in the draft (April 28-30), ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash and showcased the pass catching ability that led to 90 receptions for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns during his Notre Dame career.

"It's OK," Rudolph said of his 40 time. "I put up a number and now people have it on paper. It's not the fastest, it's not a record, but it's fast enough. And it'll only improve as I keep training."

Rudolph worked out with running backs Armando Allen and Robert Hughes, receiver Duval Kamara, linebackers Kerry Neal and Brian Smith, offensive guard Chris Stewart, cornerback Darrin Walls and nose guard Ian Williams, and another name from his past – quarterback Rob Florian, who played quarterback at Rudolph's Elder High School in Cincinnati.

Florian threw to Rudolph, Allen, Hughes and Kamara as New York Giants assistant coach Mike Pope directed the skill position workout

"It was awesome," Rudolph said of having Florian as a quarterback. "I grew up with Rob, watched him play. He was four years ahead of me in grade school and high school. He was a very successful quarterback at our high school in Cincinnati. He throws a great ball. They kept getting on him for throwing too good of passes."

Rudolph wasn't the only player showing he had recovered from an injury.

Allen ran for 514 yards last season before a hip flexor injury ended his senior year. He had surgery in November.

Allen said he felt 100 percent about a month and was able to fully start working out about three or four months ago.

"The hardest part was just staying off it when I really wanted to workout," Allen said. "I'm finally able to explode off my hip again."

Hughes slimmed won for the Pro Day going from 245 pounds to 226. He credited a change of diet, but he said he didn't lose any of the power that he showcased at the end of last season.

"I'm still running tough. I'm still running hard," Hughes said.

Stewart also trimmed down since the last time he played. The lineman said he went from 351 to 317.

He gave partial credit to being leaner to no longer being enrolled in law school and being able to focus on football.

"It's ridiculous," Stewart said of how much time he has now with law school on hold for the moment. "It's a little bit different outcome when you can do that. I enjoy focusing on what I've been passionate about my entire life."

Stewart said his day was good overall. He was pleased with his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.9 seconds, and he was really happy with his 7.69 in the three-cone drill.

"Which is moving for a lineman," Stewart said. "I hit some numbers that I wanted to hit. I did better in some areas and in others didn't do as well as I was hoping. But overall it was a good day."

And while he is enjoying focusing on football, Stewart isn't giving up on getting a law degree.

"Hopefully, I come back in a decade or two," Stewart said.