There is no doubt in my mind that Usain Bolt is the fastest person in the history of mankind. But does that speed translate to other sports? We see fast players like Devin Hester and Adrian Peterson thrive in the NFL every single day. With proper training, could a sprinter like Usain Bolt be the next big thing?
It would not be the first time a track star has come to the NFL. Willie Gault won the bronze medal in the 100m at the 1980 Liberty Bell Classic (see US-led Boycott). Afterwards, he pursued an NFL career and became a Super Bowl Champion with the Chicago Bears.
The Dallas Cowboys once used a late-round draft pick to grab the rights to the great Carl Lewis, who had no interest.
There are many things Bolt would have to overcome before becoming an elite player. He would need to learn to catch, run with pads, and deal with someone in front of him.
When he sprints, he does not have a cornerback pressing him at the starting line before starting his route. I don't believe it would take too much for him to learn to catch. Bolt was a great cricket player in Jamaica before focusing on track as a youth. The coordination needed for cricket can translate to that of catching a football.
Bolt would love to play in the NFL. He is currently in a sport that condemns him as he celebrates his accomplishments. If he moved to football, it would be almost expected to celebrate before reaching the end zone. Usain would love the attention of the NFL, with 80,000 fans watching every time you play. It seems like it is a perfect fit for Bolt to play professional football.
There are plenty of teams who would love a guy like Usain Bolt. If you convert his time from his 100m world record time, Bolt would have a 40 time of 3.56. Of course, that number is much lower than it should be because he is sprinting for a greater fraction of the race in the 100m.
But a man that can come close to a 4.0 would be an asset to any NFL team.
A few obvious choices would be Miami, Tampa Bay, or Jacksonville. A close flight home may be needed to help get back to Jamaica for training. The Bengals could certainly use him in the slot with Chad Johnson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh. But who wouldn't love to see Usain "Lightning" Bolt play for San Diego.
Bolt on the Bolts would be the greatest thing for him, the Chargers, and the NFL.