Report: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Interested in Silver-Medal Track Star Jeff Demps
In the epitome of striking while the iron is hot, former University of Florida running back and current 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps wants to transition from the track to the NFL as early as this season.
Demps was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team at the 2012 London Olympic Games that won the silver medal. He also played football for the Florida Gators and gained 2,470 career rushing yards and scored 23 touchdowns.
Now that the London Games are in the past, Demps wants to play football. He wasn’t drafted after saying he wanted to pursue track full-time, so he’ll enter the NFL as an unrestricted free agent.
Demps will be able to meet with teams soon and will likely make a decision quickly to capitalize on as much preseason time as possible.
At 5'7" and 190 pounds, Demps would be somewhat of a tweener, size-wise, at running back in the NFL. That’s fine because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the Pewter Report, are interested in Demps’ services, but they see him as a slot receiver who could also play running back and use his speed in the return game.
Just how fast is Demps?
Demps has an official 100-meter time of 10.01 seconds. That equates to a goal-line to goal-line dash of epic speed. And that influx of speed to the Bucs will just make the wide receiver corps faster.
According to Pewter Report, new receiver Vincent Jackson runs the 40-yard dash in just under 4.5 seconds. Tiquan Underwood clocked a 4.3 40-time. Demps would make this unit much, much faster, and in an NFL where speed rules, adding this kind of elusive speed would be attractive to just about anyone.
In case you’re wondering about how Demps can transition to receiver from running back, it’s not that much of a stretch. Demps caught 57 passes out of the backfield at Florida. His 481 yards tallied an average of 8.4 yards per catch. Using his speed in the slot will greatly increase that per catch average.
Speaking of the Florida Gators, adding Demps wouldn’t just be a football decision for the Bucs, said Pewter Report. Demps is a Florida native, and the Bucs could use the public relations boost of a home town kid with big-time, in-state college ties.
The Bucs see the value Demps brings from a football standpoint, as well as a public relations standpoint in appealing to the rabid Gators fan base in the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay used to have several Gators players on the team during the team’s rise in the late 1990s under head coach Tony Dungy, but there is not one former Florida player on the current training camp roster except for safety Ahmad Black, who was Tampa Bay's fifth-round draft pick in 2011.
If the Buccaneers do sign Demps, it will be fun to watch how new head coach Greg Schiano implements the speedster into his new system. However Demps is used, keep a close eye on him. Blink and you may miss something.
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