About 40 Olympians have played in the NFL. Could Marvin Bracy be next?
The Rio Olympic 100m sprinter signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Monday after spending much of the spring and summer searching for an NFL home.
Bracy, who was eliminated in the Rio Olympic semifinals, hasn’t played a football game in more than five years.
The former Florida State wide receiver could end that break on Sunday, when the Colts open their preseason hosting the Detroit Lions.
Bracy said in March that he preferred football to track. He unsuccessfully tried out for the Carolina Panthers in May and then missed the USATF Outdoor Championships in June due to unspecified surgery.
Bracy did race in three track meets in April.
“[Medaling at the Olympics] would have made the decision a hell of a lot harder,” Bracy said of switching back to football, according to the Charlotte Observer. “But I wanted to get back on the field for so long now.”
Bracy said at FSU’s pro day in March that he tossed and turned over his decision to leave school in 2013 and pursue a pro track career. He remembered thinking it was the wrong decision as he merged onto Interstate 10 in Tallahassee four years ago.
Bracy never played a down for the Seminoles, redshirting his freshman year in 2012. He missed spring 2013 practice with a hamstring injury before turning pro.
“I won’t say I regret it, leaving, but I always had that what-if factor going on in my head,” Bracy said at FSU’s pro day, where he was told he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds (he also believed he ran a quicker 40 but wasn’t given the time). “I just told myself I couldn’t live with the decision of not knowing what it could have been [in football]. If I come out here, and I fail, or if I get a tryout with a team and I fail, then I can at least sleep knowing that, OK, you tried, and it just wasn’t for you. You know, track is your calling, whatever, whatever. If it works out, and I become one of the greatest players to ever play [football], I can say, well, I had the courage to go out there and give it a shot.”
Another Olympic sprinter, London 2012 relay member Jeff Demps, briefly signed with the Colts in 2014 but did not play in a game. Demps did play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013.
Patriots safety Nate Ebner and former Lions running back Jahvid Best competed in Rio in rugby and track, respectively.
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