Olympian Demps wants to play in NFL

Bucs, Jets among teams interested

Associated PressAugust 17, 2012 

NCAA Indoors Athletics

Florida's Jeff Demps celebrates after winning the 60-meter dash during the NCAA college indoor track and field championships on Saturday, March 10, 2012, in Nampa, Idaho. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

MATT CILLEY — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jeff Demps has an Olympic silver medal. The U.S. track star now wants to make a run at a Super Bowl ring.

Agent Daniel Rose told The Associated Press late Wednesday night that several NFL teams are interested in signing the speedy Demps, a former running back at the University of Florida. Rose said Demps is expected to make a decision by Thursday night.

"I'm excited because it's a good story," Rose said. "The guy goes to the Olympics to pursue one of his dreams and he succeeded. Now, he wants to go win a Super Bowl. How can you fault a kid like that?"

Rose wouldn't identify the teams in the mix, but Tampa Bay Coach Greg Schiano confirmed that the Buccaneers are interested in Demps, who was part of the 400-meter relay team that finished second to Jamaica in London. The New York Jets, with Demps' former college teammate Tim Tebow, also are among the seven or eight teams on the list.

Demps went undrafted in April after announcing in January that he was giving up his football career to focus on track and the Olympics. The 22-year-old Demps, who had 2,470 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns in four seasons with the Gators, did not attend any college football all-star games or take part in any NFL Draft workouts to focus on track.

But now, Demps is ready to resume his football career as a professional.

"I think within 24 hours, we're going to get it done," Rose said.

Demps makes for an intriguing player who could serve as a change-of-pace back, as well as a top-notch special teamer. At Florida, he averaged 28.8 yards a return. He also won multiple national championships in track and field.

"He's speed," Rose said. "The NFL is about speed and there's so much you can do with a guy like that."

It's not unprecedented for Olympians to play in the NFL. Bob Hayes was a gold medalist in the 100 meters in the 1964 Tokyo Games and went on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame at wide receiver. Wide receiver James Jett won gold in the 400-meter relay in the 1992 Barcelona Games and played nine seasons for the Raiders.

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