Olympic Stars Who Could Play in Today's NFL

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2012

Olympic Stars Who Could Play in Today's NFL

0 of 4

    The above heading isn’t such an outrageous thought, as there have been several well-known Olympic stars that have played in the NFL over the years.

    The first big name that comes to mind is decathlete Jim Thorpe, who played in the NFL from 1919-25. The next major Olympian that made a significant splash in the league was sprinter Bob Hayes. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys, and his speed alone changed the way football teams scouted the wide receiver position.

    In more recent times, NG Michael Carter, one of the greatest shot-putters in track and field history, won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers in the same calendar year as his Olympic participation.

    It would be hard for most Summer Games participants to play football, as they will have little preparation time from the end of the Olympics and the start of the NFL season.

    Nevertheless, here are Olympic stars who could play in today’s NFL:

Holley Mangold

1 of 4

    The original plan was for weightlifter Holley Mangold to be a participant in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but she has progressed nicely to have qualified for this year’s London Games.

    But, it was football that’s partially responsible for getting Mangold into the sport of powerlifting, as a high school strength coach encouraged Mangold to participant in weightlifting due to her overpowering strength.

    She has played football since the age of eight, so a move to the NFL isn’t out of her comfort zone. In high school, Mangold was an excellent drive blocker on the offensive line, as she consistently dominated her opponents.

    And you can’t argue about her pedigree, as Mangold’s brother is Nick, an All-Pro center with the New York Jets. 

Tyson Gay

2 of 4

    No question that Tyson Gay has the speed to be an outstanding running back in the NFL.

    Being a world-class athlete allows Gay to capture a defining moment that often separates him from the competition. His passion for success would help him to become a leader in all league rushing categories.

    He has played both football and basketball in high school, so Gay has a basic understanding of competing in a team format. If you have seen him run on the track, then it comes as no surprise that he will at times trash talk to his opponents.

    Gay uses this tactic to motivate himself, but it’s also a useful tool on the football field to intimidate opponents. 

LeBron James

3 of 4

    Despite becoming one of the best basketball players to ever step on a NBA court, LeBron James was also an accomplished football player during his high school days in Akron.

    He could have easily become a highly recruited wide receiver if the King chose to don the pads instead of the shorts.

    It would be fun to watch James sky over helpless corners in order to make a key reception late in a contest. He has all the skills that pro scouts look for in potential NFL player: James has the size, strength and quickness to shine on Sundays.

    Also, he has the body frame to easily add 25 lbs. of pure muscle and turn him into a matchup nightmare for defenses at the tight end position.

    People still hate LeBron, but you cannot deny that he’s one of the best pure athletes of this generation. 

Ryan Lochte

4 of 4

    If you ever have witness Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte participate in a race, you’ll notice quickly that he has instincts like a middle linebacker in the water. Often, Lochte would let his actions speak louder than his words.

    During the U.S. Swimming Trials, Lochte repeatedly said how he would love to participate in every swimming event at the upcoming Olympics. His no-nonsense attitude of just lining up and racing regardless of the opponent is very contagious.

    Lochte knows the object is to race and hit your hand first before anyone else. He conveys to others that it’s all about the competition and being recognized as the best in your sport.

    This is the same inner drive that you’ll see in most successful middle linebackers. Often, they lead their teammates to victory until achieving their ultimate goal…a Super Bowl title.