Now that the Olympics are over, there’s one very fast young man looking at one very long layoff before resurfacing in Rio in four years.
Hey, Usain Bolt! You want to play in the NFL?
Bob Hayes, gold medal winner in the 100 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Games and dubbed world’s fastest human, did it. So did Renaldo Nehemiah, world record-holder in the 110-meter hurdles who missed the 1980 Moscow Games because of a U.S. boycott.
Sure, money would be an issue. And it’s questionable whether you’d be willing to put on pads, practice every day, learn to catch footballs while running at world-record speed, and then deal with getting slammed to the ground by defenders.
Nonetheless, think about this:
Hayes became the first Olympic champion to make it big in pro football. He was a wide receiver for nine years with the Dallas Cowboys, and a two-time All-Pro. He was so fast that defenses abandoned man-to-man coverage and came up with zone defenses in an attempt to keep him in check. He’s now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Nehemiah didn’t have as much success in his four years as a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, but he was a hurdler after all, and not the fastest runner on the planet.
You get the idea, though, and teams desperate for deep threats might be willing to take a look. Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix would.
“He’d have to be interested, that would be the first step,” Nix said of Bolt, adding that he’s not sure the Jamaican is an American football kind of guy.
“I know he’s interested in playing soccer,” Nix said before adding with a smile that he doubts Bolt would turn to football because “they hit you in football. Track guys sometimes don’t like that.”
However, he says, “I don’t know if he does or not (want to play), but if he does, you’d sure have to cover deep.”
Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer chimed in about Bolt as a kick returner.
“I’m not going to say he can’t, because he’s big, he’s strong and he can run,” Priefer said. “I don’t want to say that he can’t do it. Because he’s a heck of a lot faster than anybody else in the world.”
Here’s a Pick 6 of teams that could use a jolt of Bolt:
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