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.