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Jeff Demps' agent: NFL team to sign sprinter soon

  • By Associated Press
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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.

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"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."

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' ex-college teammate Tim Tebow, also are among seven or eight teams on the list.

Demps went undrafted in April after announcing in January that was giving up his football career to focus on track and the Olympics. The 22-year-old Demps, who had 2,470 career 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. "He's speed. The NFL is about speed and there's so much you can do with a guy like that if used correctly. He could be a kick returner, slot receiver, stuff like that. There's gadget plays teams can come up with. If used correctly, he could definitely be a weapon."

With NFL teams a few weeks into training camp and their second preseason games coming up this weekend, Demps might be a bit behind at this stage. But Rose said that shouldn't be a concern.

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"He's definitely in shape," he said. "That's a given. He'll have to make the transition and see where it ends up."

It's not unprecedented for Olympians to play in the NFL. Bob Hayes was a gold medalist in the 100 meters in the 1964 Games, and went on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame after an 11-year NFL career.

Wide receiver James Jett won gold in the 400-meter relay in the 1992 Barcelona Games and played nine seasons for the Raiders. Renaldo Nehemiah, who played three seasons for San Francisco, was considered the favorite to win the 110-meter hurdles in the 1980 Moscow Games, but the United States boycotted the Olympics.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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