What If Usain Bolt Chose To Play In The NFL

Posted by: Watch Athletics

One of the fastest men alive never played in the NFL. Even though DK Metcalf gave a go at trying to qualify for the US Olympic Team in 2020, falling short of qualifying for the Olympic Trials. In his attempt, however, DK Metcalf ran a 10.37 in the 100 meters which is slower than the 10.2 qualifying times but much faster than everyone thought he could run. 

In fact, for never having run a competitive 100 meters (well since pre-high school) DK Metcalf impressed many, including four-time Olympic medalist Ato Boldon. “He ran faster than just about everybody, myself included, thought he would run.” 

The 10.37 timed run is one of the reasons Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf is considered a star in the making, an athlete too, and his size at 6’4” and incredible catch radius. 

His size, speed, and strength are some of what sets DK Metcalf apart from the rest of the NFL, but what if Usain Bolt attempted to play in the NFL? He did, in fact, consider it and was given offers from various teams in the years between 2008-2011. 

So how would Usain Bolt have fared as a wide receiver in the NFL? 

Taller than Tyreek Hill and faster than DK Metcalf, the truth is somewhere too middling to underwhelming. SInce 1992, there have been 7 players on active NFL rosters who were track and field, Olympic athletes. 

Performances Of Past Olympians In The NFL

James Jett of the Oakland Raiders (92), Michael Bates of the Seattle Seahawks (92), Marquise Godwin of the Buffalo Bills (12), Jeff Demps (12), Marvin Bracy of the Seattle Seahawks (16), Jahvid Best of the Detroit Lions (16), and Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots (16) are not world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination. 

So how did Usain Bolt feel about his possibility of playing wide receiver? He considered it, but there is one primary reason he chose not to play in the NFL. 

In a recent interview, Usain Bolt claimed that the primary reason he didn’t join an NFL squad was that the game was too violent. 

During the 2008-2011 seasons, the game didn’t have some of the same protections on protecting receivers, especially as they exposed themselves while catching the ball. On the Pat McAfee Show, Usain Bolt says, “we talked about football for a while, but back then, it was a vicious sport.” 

He continued,” people were taking people out left, right, and center…(a)nd I knew if I showed up with my speed, that’s what’s gonna happen.” 

Perhaps due to the perception that the league was too vicious or that scoring had plateaued, rules changes since 2008, specifically since 2018, have opened up scoring league-wide. 

In fact, since 2018, overall scoring has increased from 22 points a game to 23.7 so far in the 2021 season. 

With better protection of receivers and increased scoring, surely a player with Usain Bolt’s speed would be tantalizing. Especially in NFL fantasy circles, but alas, Bolt is retired from sports and plans to stay that way. 

Asked about his interest in playing in the NFL now, Bolt claims that it’s more intriguing than it was in his athletic heyday, “if it was now, I would have tried it because it’s not as crazy as it was back in the day.” 

Recently, Tyreek Hill has challenged the world’s fastest man, but Bolt has reminded Hill that without much effort, in sweats and sneakers, Bolt ran a 4.22 for the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, claiming that the race wouldn’t even be close. 

“Come on, Tyreek, you got no chance,” said Bolt.

If only the modern rules and interpretations that we see in today’s game were the rules in the 2007-2012 era, we might have had a chance to witness greatness in the NFL. 

Or it could have ended up to be much hoopla like so many Olympians before, an incredible athlete being capable but not exceptional in a league, that is the NFL, of outstanding athletes. 

How close were we to seeing the world’s fastest man play in the world’s greatest league? Not too close based on Usain Bolt’s statements, but the fantasy is still fun to reminisce and think, what if? 

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