Dan Patrick

Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)

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The world’s fastest man as a football player? It nearly happened, Usain Bolt revealed to Dan Patrick this morning.

Bolt did not identify which teams, but said that he had been contacted about the possibility of playing wide receiver in the NFL.

“I’ve never really thought about going,” Bolt said, “but I’ve gotten offers and people have asked me.”

Bolt prefers sprinting because it is non-contact, with the exception of a rare Segway accident.

“I used to watch [football] when I was younger, and the hits that the guys used to take…I know that it is not as bad now, but the hits that the guys would take kind of turned me off,” Bolt said.

There is precedent for Olympic sprinters becoming NFL wide receivers. Most notably, 1964 Olympic 100m champion “Bullet Bob” Hayes went on to win a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bolt’s biggest sprinting rival, 2004 Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin, did answer the call when contacted by the NFL. In 2007, while serving his doping suspension, he had tryouts with the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans, and went to minicamp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But he stopped playing before the preseason started.

“I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Gatlin said to NBC in a pre-Olympic interview. “[Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden] respected me. He didn’t say I would regret it or anything. There was a big learning curve for me. It wasn’t like I was going to be on the field when the preseason came.”

Gruden, who exclusively referred to Gatlin as “Gold Medal,” played Gatlin at wide receiver. But Gatlin wonders if he would have had more success at safety, the position he preferred in high school.

“I don’t know,” Gatlin said. “But I do know I would have missed track and field.”

MORE: Usain Bolt discusses viral photo on TODAY

Bob Costas looks ahead to Rio on Dan Patrick Show (video)

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With the Opening Ceremony in one week, NBC Olympic primetime host Bob Costas went on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday to preview the first Games in South America.

“Everywhere you look, this place is a picture postcard,” Costas said. “Is it blighted, especially in the waters, by sanitation problems? Are there favelas that make what we consider poverty in the United States see opulent? Yes. But there are also soaring structures, beautiful mountainscapes, beautiful waterways, all of that, plus the world’s greatest athletes are bound for Rio. And many of them are going to do miraculous and wonderful things, and we just have our fingers crossed that the array of problems, that everyone’s aware of, don’t intrude upon what we came here primarily to document, which is this great competition.”

Costas was also asked to name his favorite Olympic sport.

“Track events are the most classic events,” he said. “Of course, swimming has moved way up there. It always was one of the premier Olympic events, and now in the [Michael] Phelps era even more so.”

But gymnastics may prove the most enduring sport of the Rio Games.

Costas said it could turn out that “Simone Biles of the United States has delivered the greatest performance of any female gymnast in the history of the Olympics, and Kohei Uchimura of Japan is the greatest male gymnast in the history of the Olympics. Now that’s if it all works out for them.”

The full interview is here.

MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster

Nate Ebner on NFL vs. Olympic sevens, Rob Gronkowski’s rugby potential

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Patriots safety Nate Ebner pulled off one of the incredible feats of Olympic qualifying season, making the first U.S. Olympic rugby sevens team less than four months after announcing his return to the sport.

And he thinks other football players would fare well in rugby. Namely teammate Rob Gronkowski.

“How would Gronk be at anything that is physical? I think that answers that,” Ebner said on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday. “He’s a beast. He’d have no problems.”

Ebner, a 27-year-old who was an elite player as a teenager (at least among Americans) before converting to football at Ohio State, was asked which sport is tougher.

“It just depends on what your definition of toughness is,” he said. “If it’s about how hard you hit somebody, I’d say football. … But there are aspects to rugby which are extremely tough, when it comes to cardiovascular standpoint. The amount of mileage that we have to run in such a short period of time, but you also have to tackle and get back up and compete.”

Ebner already has a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots from two seasons ago. His chances of joining former Cowboys wide receiver Bob Hayes in owning a ring and an Olympic gold medal are not strong.

The U.S. men’s rugby team is a medal contender, for sure, but to take gold would be an upset. The Americans were fifth in the World Series standings the last two seasons.

The favorites are Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand.

“We’ve beaten all the top teams ahead of us multiple times this year, just haven’t accrued enough points to be higher than fifth,” Ebner said. “We definitely have the ability to beat the top teams. I wouldn’t say we’re frontrunners at all, because we’re not winning the series, but we’re definitely contenders. Anyone that writes us off, they’re mistaken for sure.”

MORE: Former Lions RB makes Saint Lucia Olympic team