NFL Players We'd Love to Watch Duel in Other Sports

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2020

NFL Players We'd Love to Watch Duel in Other Sports

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    One of the most exciting hypotheticals in sports centers on the idea of how NFL stars would fare outside their comfort zone in other arenas.

    The globe gets a look at one such idea this week in the highly anticipated golf event Capital One's "The Match: Champions for Charity," featuring NFL legends Tom Brady and Peyton Manning alongside golfing greats Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The event starts at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida.

    It will undoubtedly be very entertaining, as everyone is mic'd up for the two-on-two affair, and fans have to hope this is just the beginning. Some of the NFL's biggest stars boast rich backgrounds in basketball, baseball and even pro wrestling.

    These are the showdowns between NFL pros we want to see in other sports.

Henry Ruggs III vs. Julio Jones: Dunk Contest

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    Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones could easily fall into Antonio Gates territory as someone broadcasters frequently mention used to play basketball—and for good reason.

    Most Jones evaluations before he even hit the college football scene gushed at how dominant he was on the hardwood. And NBA star DeMarcus Cousins says it was Jones—not an NBA player—who threw down the nastiest dunk he's ever seen. 

    Looking across the NFL, Henry Ruggs III might be the best bet to take down Jones in a dunk competition. This year's 12th pick by the Las Vegas Raiders was a late convert to football. During the run-up to the draft, wicked dunking highlight reels from his high school days made the rounds.

    A showdown between old and new in dunk-contest format is the sort of event where everyone wins.

Russell Wilson vs. Kyler Murray: Home Run Derby

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    Russell Wilson is the most popular current example of a great NFL player with serious weight in the baseball game too.

    First drafted in the 41st round out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007, Wilson was then a fourth-round pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. The Texas Rangers later acquired him in the 2013 Rule 5 draft.

    Wilson's flirtation with baseball was no publicity stunt, and neither was that of Kyler Murray, the No. 1 pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2019. MLB's Oakland Athletics also drafted him in the first round in 2018, making him the only first-rounder in both sports...ever.

    No wonder: Murray was a two-time MaxPreps Player of the Year as a high school football star, and he hit 10 homers and 47 RBI in his final season at the University of Oklahoma.

    Between the fun banter and legitimate prowess in a different sport, Wilson vs. Murray is something we'd love to see in a home run derby setting.

Tyreek Hill vs. Henry Ruggs III vs. John Ross: 100-Meter Race

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    Getting some of the NFL's best-known speedsters together for a race always sounds like a good idea.

    Start with Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill, owner of world-class speed that put him on a track team in college and made him a gold-medal winner in the 4×100-meter relay at the World Junior Championships in 2012.

    Then there is Ruggs. Besides his blatant skill in basketball, the Raiders wideout blazed a 4.27-second time in the 40-yard dash. Don't forget Cincinnati Bengals wideout John Ross, who still holds the fastest combine 40-yard dash (4.22 seconds). That would've won him an island if he'd worn the right cleats.

    Maybe the contestants don't have to put up a piece of the planet as a prize for this one, but it would be fun regardless for bragging rights alone.

Rob Gronkowski vs. Travis Kelce vs. George Kittle: Wrestling Match

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    Trash-talking tight ends are made for a wrestling promotion such as WWE.

    Just ask Rob Gronkowski, WWE's current 24/7 champion. Gronk won the title at this year's WrestleMania and hasn't let it go. He's the perfect WWE character, as evidenced by the fact that Vince McMahon and Co. went out of their way to give him a prime spot on the promotion's biggest card of the year.

    Fun fact: WWE rules say the 24/7 title can change hands at any time, hence the name. It would be plenty of fun to see Gronk defend his belt from other massive, trash-talking tight end stars like Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers.

    Kittle is especially noteworthy because his WWE fandom isn't a secret—and he's been on the company's broadcasts lately too. And Kelce wasn't shy when wearing the WWE championship belt for KC's Super Bowl victory rally. Pitting Kittle against Gronk and Kelce in the ring would be must-see television.

Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees: Golf Showdown

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    It's only right after Peyton Manning and Tom Brady match up that onlookers get two more eventual Hall of Famers to square off on a golf course. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers make sense as future competitors.

    Both elite passers featured in a recent Golf Digest column by Cliff Schrock that looked at the best golfers in other sports.

    Brees isn't a stranger to the links and puts on the Brees Topgolf Challenge through his foundation, while Rodgers has taken part in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

    Throw both on the links with legendary golfers, make sure they're mic'd up and get somebody like Tony Romo to do commentary, and it has the makings of a special event.


    Which NFL players would you like to see face off in other sports? Drop a note in the comments section with your pick!