The Top 5 Multi-Sport NFL Players of All Time
Throughout the 90-year history of the NFL, there have been hundreds and thousands of phenomenal athletes who have played the highest level of football you can play in the world.
Although there have been a large number of great football players, very few have went pro in a sport other than football.
Sure, there have been players like John Elway who along with being one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, also was a very talented baseball player.
Elway did not make the big leagues so he is not on my list just like many other players who were great at two college sports.
This list consists of the five best players ever to step on the gridiron in the NFL and also go pro in another sport such as the Major League Baseball or the Olympic Games and excel.
An accomplishment not many players have achieved. The guys who manage to do it are absolute physical beasts along with great technicians.
You may learn something or the answers just may surprise you. Enjoy and don't forget to leave feedback on whether you agree with me or not.
5. Jim Brown
Along with being one of the greatest, if not the best running back in NFL history, Jim Brown was also one of the best lacrosse players of all time at Syracuse.
Although, Brown only played lacrosse on the college level, I still put him on this list due to the fact that he is in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and there are no major pro lacrosse leagues.
Out of my research, Jim Brown is the only person on the history of the planet to be in the College Football Hall of Fame, NFL Hall of Fame, and Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Not a bad resume to be on the list of greatest multi-sport athletes in NFL history.
4. Deion Sanders
"Prime Time" Deion Sanders is possibly the most recognizable player on this list, but could strike a few people as a surprise at number four.
Along with a phenomenal NFL career from 1989 to 2005 as the best cornerback and one of the best playmakers of his time, Sanders also had a pretty successful part-time MLB career as an outfielder from 1989 to 2001.
He actually led the MLB in triples in 1992 with 14.
Deion Sanders is the only person to hit a home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week. Prime Time is also the only person to play in both a World Series and Super Bowl.
Along with his NFL and MLB careers, he also was a pre-game commentator for CBS' NFL Today until 2004, when he demanded a $2.5 million contract to be the highest paid NFL TV analyst ever.
There is no doubt that Sanders is one of the best athletes of all time, especially with a 4.28 40 time.
3. Herschel Walker
Some people may wonder why Herschel Walker is higher than Deion Sanders on this list, here is why.
Walker, a past Heisman Trophy winner, was one of the greatest running backs in college football history at Georgia.
In pro football, he had a great career, being the best running back from 1983 to 1985 in the USFL's short history.
Walker then went into the NFL (1986-1997) with Dallas Cowboys and became a Pro Bowler until being traded to the Minnesota Vikings in "The Trade," the largest player trade in the history of the NFL.
A trade to the Vikings with meaningless draft picks for a bunch of decent players and very high draft pick, setting up the Cowboys' dynasty.
Walker even was an Olympic bobsledder, competing in the 1992 Winter Olympics in two-man bobsled, finishing seventh. While coming close to being an Olympian in the sprint relay.
Herschel Walker is a physical beast, even though he does not use weights to work out.
Walker has been said to do 2,500 sit-ups and 1,500 push ups every morning. Along with sleeping only four hours at night and eating one meal daily in the evening.
Some may think after football Walker was done, but in 2009 he started a professional MMA career with Strikeforce, recently winning by TKO against 22-year-old Greg Nagy at the of 47. Still being built like a monster.
Some may say that is not even close to being another professional career, but to me, MMA is a much more physically demanding sport than baseball, especially at the age of 47 (no offense to baseball fans).
Walker even says himself that he would have chosen MMA over football if it was popular at the time, he even said it was more physically demanding than football.
That is why I consider Herschel Walker being the third greatest multi-sport NFL player of all time.
2. Bo Jackson
Bo Jackson, the man with the 4.12 40 time in the NFL Combine and the most unstoppable football player in a video game in Tecmo Super Bowl (gave him the nickname "Tecmo Bo") is arguably the best multi-sport athlete of all time.
The former Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn was a great running back for the Oakland Raiders during his short NFL career (1987-1990) due to hip problems was also a phenomenal outfielder/designated hitter in the MLB from 1986-1994.
He also could have been an Olympic sprinter, but it did not pay well enough compared to the NFL and MLB.
Jackson was the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports. He is one of the most electrifying runners in NFL history and a fun player to watch in the MLB, being on the list of players to hit three home runs in one game and would make spectacular grabs in the outfield.
Also, after some bad batting performances he was known to break bats over his knee or head.
There is no doubt Bo Jackson is one of the greatest overall athletes of all time, but he is not the best athlete in NFL history. Coming at a close second to...
1. Jim Thorpe
Some reading this list may not even know who Jim Thorpe is and if you are not one of those people, you are about to learn.
Thorpe is the only man to ever be an Olympic athlete (participated in the most physically demanding even at the time, the pentathlon and decathlon), play pro football, pro baseball, and pro basketball.
Tell me who else has done this with such success and I will retire from sports writing.
Thorpe was inducted into halls of fame for college football, U.S. Olympic teams, and national track and field competition.
Also, in 1950 the Associated Press named Thorpe the "greatest American football player" of the first half of the century. Playing in what is now the NFL from 1920 to 1928 as a running back and defensive back.
Thorpe won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, losing his medals for not violating the amateur status rules, but were reinstated to his name in 1983.
In baseball, Jim Thorpe played in the MLB as an outfielder from 1913 to 1919 with a decent career. Finishing with a .252 batting average.
Thorpe's basketball career was unknown to many, until 2005 with a ticket discovery in an old book showing he played for the "World Famous Indians."
Which sponsored traveling football, baseball, and basketball teams.
Sadly, when the Great Depression struck, it hit Jim Thorpe hard. Having to work any job he could find until 1950s, when he ran out of money.
In early 1953, Thorpe suffered his third heart attack, passing away on March 28 at the age of 64.
Jim Thorpe will forever be remembered as not only the greatest multi-sport NFL player of all time, he will remember as one of the greatest American athletes of all time.