10 NFL Players That We'd Love to See Compete in the Olympics
The Olympic Games are the true test for the world's best athletes, giving them a chance to settle the score for personal and national glory on the biggest stage.
With that said, one has to wonder where the superb athletes of the NFL would fit into the competition (especially since American football is a long way from the Olympics, given the sorry state of its world championship).
Could the game's best runners and jumpers fit into track and field events? Could the aggression of the game lend itself to high-level play in other sports?
The answers to those questions may not be easily determined, but it does make for some great debate.
Here are 10 athletes we'd love to see at the Olympic Games.
I'm sure the Cincinnati Bengals' Jerome Simpson would get a 10 from the judges for sticking the landing on this somersaulting touchdown play.
(However, he may also draw some interest in the diving events based on this fall earlier last year.)
He could go for the gold in: Gymnastics—Tumbling
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
His 2011 season may have left much to be desired, but Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is still one of the fastest guys in the league today. He drew a lot of attention prior to entering the league when he ran a 40-yard dash in a superhuman 4.24 seconds.
You can't tell me he couldn't put in some work on the track (even if he would need to show some improvement from his high school pace).
He could go for the gold in: Track and Field—100m Dash
Al Bello/Getty Images
The holder of Florida's high school record for shot put throw, one can only wonder what a few years of bulking up would mean for the New England Patriots' Vince Wilfork (his high school-best throw of 68 feet or 20.73 meters is just short of the records for South America, Asia and Oceania).
With a little bit of time to train, it would be interesting to see Wilfork toss his hat in the ring. Given his strength, he could do so from a pretty long distance away.
He could go for the gold in: Track and Field—Shot Put
Kevin Terrell/Getty Images
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has no problem going way up to make receptions, and it would be interesting to see if those leaping abilities would be helpful in an event like the high jump.
If he didn't want to have to learn the technique/arching necessary for the high jump, Fitzgerald would also be an interesting candidate for the long jump.
He could go for the gold in: Track and Field—High Jump/Long Jump
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Steve Smith may be one of the most electrifying receivers in the league, but for the Olympics he may have to take his talents to a canoe. If this touchdown celebration is any indication, he might have some major undeveloped talent.
All you'd need is Chris Berman to call the event.
"He...could...row...all the way..."
He could go for the gold in: Canoeing
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
While the ACL injury to end the 2011 season would make any Olympic attempt futile, there's no denying the physical talents of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
He talked about trying out for the Olympic team during last season's lockout.
"It’s a goal I’ve had for a long time," Peterson told Sporting News. "It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Now, I’m taking the steps to get it done."
Peterson, who ran track in high school, would probably be well-suited for an event like the steeplechase, which would show off his speed, endurance and leaping ability.
He could go for the gold in: Steeplechase
Rob Carr/Getty Images
A state champion in Florida in wrestling, there's no denying that Ray Lewis' intensity on the field could translate well to the Olympic wrestling mat.
Lewis said the skills he picked up in wrestling have played a big role in his football success.
"The principles that you learn in wrestling, none of that changes. It carries over, and if you stick to those things, the low man always wins," he said.
If he doesn't feel like going to London to compete, I'm sure more than a few teams would love him for his ability to give motivational pep talks.
He could go for the gold in: Wrestling
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The US Olympic soccer team may not be going to London (darn you Canada and El Salvador!), but it would have been neat to see Chad Ochocinco attempt to take his talents to the international level.
He would have had a lot of work to do: Ochocinco struggled to get to game pace during a trial with Sporting Kansas City during last year's lockout, before being named an "honorary member" of the team.
He would also have tough competition for a spot on the roster, which can only take a limited number of players over the age of 23.
He could go for the gold in: Football (soccer)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
America hasn't fared too well in handball in recent years, but that could change with the addition of Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Johnson would fare well in a sport that requires good hands, better verticals and high levels of concentration.
A good fit on both sides of the ball (imagine trying to throw a ball past him as a goalie), he would be a tremendous boost to the USA's roster.
He could go for the gold in: Handball