Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Five former or current NFL players could compete in the 2016 Olympics

Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games - Day 12

TORONTO, ON - JULY 22: Marquise Goodwin of the USA competes in the Men’s Long Jump final at the Pan Am Games on July 22, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Five different athletes with NFL experience are vying to compete in the 2016 Olympics, with two trying to make Olympic rugby teams, two trying to run the 100 meters and one having a real shot at gold in the long jump.

The player with the best chance is Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who long jumped a whopping 27 feet, eight and one-half inches at a track meet over the weekend. Not only is that Goodwin’s career best jump, but it’s the best jump in the world this year by anyone. Goodwin is heading to his second Olympic Games after a 10th place finish in London in 2012, and this year he could bring back gold.

According to NBC’s Olympic Talk, two former NFL players, Jeff Demps and Jahvid Best, are attempting to run the 100 meters in Rio. Demps was on the American 4x100-meter relay team in London in 2012 and has a chance of making the team again this year. Best, who retired from the Lions because of concussions, is attempting to qualify for the Olympic team of the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia, where his father was born.

As we’ve previously noted, Patriots safety Nate Ebner has taken a leave from the team to try to qualify for the U.S. Olympic rugby team. And former 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne is giving up football to return to rugby, also with Olympic ambitions.

Several athletes have gone from the Olympics to the NFL, but Herschel Walker is the only player who has ever played in the NFL first and then competed in the Olympics (in bobsledding in 1992). This year as many as five players with NFL experience may compete in Rio.