Jeff Demps

Jeff Demps discusses balancing track and field, football

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Jeff Demps nearly gave up football to focus on track and field.

Demps, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, is two games into his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after landing on injured reserve with the Patriots before last season. He missed the entire offseason and training camp while sprinting professionally.

“At one point, I was just going to focus on track and field, but I felt the draw to come back to play football,” Demps told the Orlando Sentinel. “Ever since then, I never have thought about doing one sport more than the other.”

Demps, 23, whose personal best in the 100m is 10.01, was selected to the U.S. 4x100m relay team for August’s World Championships after placing 11th in the 100m at the National Championships.

He did not compete at worlds and said before the event that he was “just focused on running” and would sit down and decide his next move after the track season ended. He reported to the Bucs one month ago and played in his first game Sept. 29.

He has one rush for 14 yards, three catches for 21 yards and four kickoff returns for 93 yards in two games.

“It’s tough because of how the seasons are,” Demps told the newspaper. “One season ends, and you go right back into the other. I don’t know if it hurts me going from one sport to the other, but you just accept it. If you don’t take care of your body, you are going to go downhill really fast.”

He said he plans to return to track and field in the spring.

“It is feasible he can do both (football and track) for a long time,” Demps’ agent told the newspaper.

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Max Parrot, Julia Marino win Big Air at Fenway Park snowboarding

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Canadian Olympic snowboarder Max Parrot and American Julia Marino swept the first Big Air at Fenway Park events on Thursday night.

Parrot, who finished fifth in the Sochi Olympic slopestyle competition, had the highest-scoring run of all competitors in gusty conditions at the home of the Boston Red Sox.

He tallied a 96.25 in his second of three runs. The combined score of his first two runs — 183.5 — held up so that his last run was a victory lap.

Parrot gained attention in Sochi for being one of two Canadian snowboarders to call out Shaun White for pulling out before the slopestyle competition.

White didn’t compete Thursday. Olympic slopestyle champions Sage Kotsenburg (training crash) and Jamie Anderson (eliminated in qualifying) did compete, but not in the finals.

Big air, which debuts at the Olympics at Pyeongchang 2018, is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic snowboard disciplines. The key difference is that big air runs include one jump, while slopestyle is a course of several jumps and rails.

Earlier, American Julia Marino was the surprise women’s winner at Fenway, tallying a two-run total of 169.25. Marino, 18, was a forerunner who got into the field when U.S. Olympian Ty Walker withdrew.

Riders competed Thursday with wind gusts up to 25 miles per hour, NBC Sports’ Tina Dixon said. Their bibs flapped uncontrollably at the top of the 140-foot-high jump, nearly four times the height of the adjacent Green Monster.

“The wind definitely created a nervous factor for me, and I’m sure all the other riders, too,” Marino, a Connecticut native, said on NBCSN. “It was crazy windy up there. But the fact is the jump itself wasn’t as winded down below. … I’ve been to Boston so many times, and I’ve walked past this ballpark a ton. To be snowboarding here, it’s insane.”

Big Air at Fenway concludes Friday with ski big air, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra at 9 p.m. ET.

MORE: Shaun White explains ‘shock’ of missing X Games

Sage Kotsenburg cracks helmet in Fenway Big Air crash

Sage Kotsenburg
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Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion Sage Kotsenburg crashed in training and suffered a concussion before the finals of the Big Air at Fenway Park in Boston on Thursday evening, according to his Twitter.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said Kotsenburg hit his head in the crash but couldn’t confirm a concussion diagnosis.

Kotsenburg, 22, was to be the headliner of the finals after fellow Olympic slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson was eliminated in earlier qualifying.

Big Air at Fenway was to be Kotsenburg’s final competition of the season, according to Sports Illustrated. He finished 10th in snowboard slopestyle at the Winter X Games two weeks ago.

Kotsenburg has said he would like to compete in slopestyle and big air at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, where big air will make its Winter Games debut.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the final day of Big Air at Fenway on Friday for the ski slopestyle finals at 9 p.m. ET.

MORE: Shaun White discusses ‘shock’ of missing X Games