NFL Olympics: Zach Brown among league's best pure athletes

Wade Payne/Associated Press
Tennessee Titans rookie linebacker Zach Brown has been a world-class athlete throughout his football career.


The Summer Olympics are supposed to be the ultimate athletic showcase, but not all of the world's finest athletes are in London. In fact, a good percentage of them are at training camps across the United States, preparing for the upcoming NFL season.

The Games of the XXX Olympiad are under way in London, and here's a look at what the Olympics would be like with America's game included.

Friday, July 27
Breer: Football in the Olympics? It could happen
Gridiron Breakdown: Olympics or Super Bowl?

Monday, July 30
Lombardi: NFL 2016 'Dream Team'
Jeremiah: NFLers in swimming
Jeremiah: NFLers in basketball
Photo essay: Olympians in the NFL
Watch: Who would make U.S. national team?

Tuesday, July 31
Darlington: Aaron Ross' Olympic wife
Jeremiah: NFLers in boxing
Jeremiah: NFLers in gymnastics

Wednesday, Aug. 1
Brooks: NFL's best pure athletes
Jeremiah: NFLers in handball
Jeremiah: NFLers in beach volleyball
Pick 6: NFL cities that could host Olympics

Thursday, Aug. 2
Brooks: NFL's five fastest players
Jeremiah: NFLers in weightlifting
Jeremiah: NFLers in track

Friday, Aug. 3
Daniel Jeremiah: NFLers in wrestling
Daniel Jeremiah: NFLers in tennis

Most football players are athletic, but here are five standouts, the elite of the elite, who could help their countries chase Olympic gold -- that is, if they weren't otherwise engaged.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
There isn't a lot of overlap between wrestlers and wide receivers, but White is an anomaly. He was a two-time South Carolina state champion in high school who had a knack for putting competitors on their backs. Although he has developed into one of the NFL's elite playmakers, White could be a difficult matchup for opponents on the mat, presenting a difficult-to-handle combination of speed, power and strength.

Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Before Lewis made his name bludgeoning opponents on the football field, he dominated the high school wrestling scene in Florida. The trademark intensity and physicality that has made him one of the NFL's most feared defenders would also give the world's best grapplers pause. Few men are capable of matching his competitive greatness, and it would be hard to bet against Lewis securing a spot on the podium.

Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago Bears
Better basketball players have graced the gridiron, but few had Peppers' combination of size, strength and athleticism. Peppers was a key contributor to a North Carolina team that made the Final Four in 2000. Team USA could certainly use his toughness on the interior, especially with an injured Blake Griffin sitting these Games out.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
Graham surprised even his biggest supporters with his quick transition from the hardwood to the gridiron, but he possesses the kind of athleticism that allows him to succeed in any arena. With a gritty demeanor and outstanding physical dimensions, Graham could be a key contributor off the bench for Team USA.

Zach Brown, LB, Tennessee Titans
It is hard to find a more accomplished high school athlete than Brown. He captured state titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as a high school student in North Carolina. He was also a state champion in wrestling. Brown continued to star as a two-sport athlete in college, leaving North Carolina as the school record holder in the 60-meter dash, despite weighing a hefty 244 pounds. Brown would be an ideal candidate for a spot in London in some capacity.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks



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