There is absolutely no reason to think that Usain Bolt wants to play in the NFL. He's the best sprinter in the world and may become the best sprinter ever, he'll make millions in endorsement income as a three-time gold medalist, and American football isn't particularly popular in Jamaica.
But I've heard from several football fans who think Bolt, who's 6-foot-5 and the fastest man in the world, would be a great NFL player. So could it happen?
If he wants it to happen, it could, but not until 2009. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk quotes NFL spokesman Greg Aiello saying:
"If an individual calls us and wants to know if he is eligible for the draft, we ask him a series of questions before we give him an answer. When did he graduate from high school? Did he attend college? Have Usain give us a call."The issue of high school and college is a matter of the league's minimum age rule, and since Bolt is 22 years old, he would be eligible. So yes, if Bolt wants to play, he can tell the NFL, and they'll make him eligible for the 2009 draft.
And if he actually did want to play football -- to really commit himself to the sport -- I believe he'd be a first-day draft pick. NFL general managers go ga-ga over guys with size and speed, and there's never been anyone in human history with the size and speed of Bolt.
Of course, it's not actually going to happen. But it's fun to think about seeing Usain Bolt, in a helmet and shoulder pads, going long.