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Nick Friedell

Will Usain Bolt run straight into the NFL?

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Usain Bolt is 21 years old, stands 6 feet 5 inches tall, weighs 190 pounds and runs the 100-meter dash in 9.69 seconds. Is there any doubt that NFL execs just read that sentence and started salivating? As I watched the Jamaican speedster race down the track yesterday, I couldn't help but wonder how he would fare if he ever decided to play football, and I'm sure general managers around the league were thinking the same thing as they watched him zoom past the competition.

The thought of making a living running with a helmet and shoulder pads may not have even crossed Bolt's mind, but I am quite certain that there will a line full of teams willing to give him a chance if he ever decides that he wants to change career paths. Bolt wouldn't be the first world-class sprinter to try his hand at football. As my colleague Bill Fitzgerald pointed out, Bob Hayes, Willie Gault and Renaldo Nehemiah all made the transition to the NFL after successful sprinting careers. Herschel Walker and Darrell Green were amongst several players that competed in both sports while in college. The 2004 Olympic 100 meter champion Justin Gatlin was even given a tryout last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ... and he was just over 6 feet tall.

The thing about Bolt is that at 6'5, he posesses a combination of size and speed that would be unlike most other players in the NFL.

Is a football career something he wants to pursue? Is he willing to give up a sprinting career that appears to be at its peak? Only time will tell. If he has any interest in football at all though, you'd have to think that it's a good time to give the sport a chance. The "world's fastest man" has nothing left to prove in his chosen sport. The only reason Bolt would continue to train is if he decides to compete again in London, four years from now. At 21, he still has plenty of time to learn about football if he so desires. It will be interesting to see what his next move will be, but I can promise you that NFL scouts just added a new travel destination to their travel itineraries this fall ... Jamaica.

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