football

Noah Igbinoghene NFL Draft
AP

NFL Draft: First-round pick’s parents both Olympians

Leave a comment

Noah Igbinoghene, the Miami Dolphins’ first-round pick in the NFL Draft, has Olympians as parents.

Igbinoghene, an Auburn cornerback taken 30th overall, is the son of Nigerian Olympic track and field athletes who also competed for SEC schools.

Igbinoghene’s mother, Faith Idehen, earned bronze in the 1992 Olympic 4x100m. That group earned the first medals for Nigerian women. Their celebration was also went down in history — after a scoreboard-watching wait, they shrieked, jumped and group-hugged.

His father, Festus, placed 35th in the triple jump at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Faith ran for Alabama. Festus jumped for Mississippi State.

Noah jumped for Auburn for two seasons, placing eighth in the long jump at the 2019 SEC Championships.

MORE: The Olympian taken No. 1 in the NFL Draft

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

NFL Draft: Olympians who were drafted included Nos. 1, 2, 3 overall

Jahvid Best
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A total of 43 Olympians also played in the NFL, according to Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Some more Olympians were also drafted but never played in the regular season.

That list includes Carl Lewis, the nine-time Olympic champion who was taken in the 12th round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1984, before competing at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Lewis, who did not play football at the University of Houston, also never played in the NFL.

Other Olympians who played in the NFL weren’t drafted. Like Jim Thorpe, co-gold medalist at the first Olympic decathlon in Stockholm in 1912, who played in the NFL before the draft debuted in 1936.

But how many Olympians were drafted into and played NFL football? 23. That includes Nos. 1, 2 and 3 overall picks.

The only Olympian to be drafted first overall was Sam Francis, who placed fourth in the 1936 Berlin Olympic shot put. The following fall, as a running back for the University of Nebraska, he was runner-up in Heisman Trophy voting. The Philadelphia Eagles took him first in the next year’s draft, then traded him to the Chicago Bears. Francis played four NFL seasons before serving with the U.S. Army in World War II.

Johnny “Lam” Jones, the No. 2 overall pick in 1980 by the New York Jets, played five NFL seasons as a wide receiver after earning an Olympic 4x100m gold medal in Montreal in 1976 as an 18-year-old. He remains the youngest U.S. Olympic champion sprinter.

Ollie Matson earned 400m bronze and 4x400m silver at the 1952 Helsinki Games. The Chicago Cardinals took him third overall in 1952. A running back, he played 14 NFL seasons and became a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

The full list of Olympians who were drafted into and played in the NFL, compiled thanks to data from Olympedia and the OlyMADMen:

Sam Francis — 1st pick, 1937 (first round)
John “Lam” Jones — 2nd pick, 1980 (first round)
Ollie Matson — 3rd pick, 1952 (first round)
Larry Burton
 — 7th pick, 1975 (first round)
Clyde Scott — 8th pick, 1948 (first round)
James Owens — 29th pick, 1979 (second round)
Jahvid Best
 — 30th pick, 2010 (first round)
Ron Brown — 41st pick, 1983 (second round)
Henry Carr — 43rd pick, 1965 (fourth round)
Bob Pickens — 44th pick, 1966 (third round)
Gerald Tinker — 44th pick, 1974 (second round)
Ray Norton — 46th pick, 1960 (fourth round)
Milt Campbell — 53rd pick, 1957 (fifth round)
Marquise Goodwin — 78th pick, 2013 (third round)
Bob Hayes — 88th pick, 1964 (seventh round)
Frank Budd — 96th pick, 1962 (seventh round)
Herschel Walker — 114th pick, 1985 (fifth round)
Randy Dean — 117th pick, 1977 (fifth round)
Michael Carter — 121st pick, 1984 (fifth round)
Jim Hines — 146th pick, 1968 (sixth round)
Michael Bates 
— 150th pick, 1992 (sixth round)
Nate Ebner — 197th pick, 2012 (sixth round)
Tommie Smith — 226th pick, 1967 (ninth round)

MORE: Ex-NFL Pro Bowlers try curling with 2022 Olympic goal

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Tyreek Hill eyes Olympics; qualifying for U.S. trials is difficult enough

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill said he’s serious about trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track and field team after Super Bowl LIV, but it would be very difficult for him to qualify for the Olympic trials, let alone get to Tokyo.

“Hopefully after this season, if I’m healthy and my mind is still in the right place, I really want to try to qualify for some Olympic teams,” Hill said at Super Bowl media day in Miami on Wednesday. “Even go to Penn Relays [in April], give that a try. Get a few guys off the [football] team put a relay together and show these track guys, hey, football guys, hey, we used to do this back in high school, man. We still got it. I just want to have fun with it.”

Hill was asked in a follow-up if he was serious about the Olympics and looked into it.

“Yeah, I have,” he said. “I have. I have.”

Hill was a world-class sprinter in high school. He ran the 200m in 20.14 seconds at age 18, ranking him sixth in the U.S. in 2012. If he ran that time between now and June 7, Hill would qualify for June’s U.S. Olympic Trials.

But asking him to get near his personal best, seven years removed from his sprint days and after the longest NFL season of his career, is a leap.

Hill easily qualified for Olympic trials in 2012 (the automatic qualifying time was 20.55), and 20.14 would have made the Olympic team at trials. But Hill did not race trials. He ran junior nationals and the world junior championships instead.

Hill also noted Wednesday that he broke 10 seconds in the 100m in high school. While that is true, it came with a 5.0 meter/second tailwind, which is 2.5 times the maximum tailwind for record purposes. His true 100m personal best is 10.19 seconds.

But none of those old races count if Hill wants to race at June’s Olympic trials. He must post a qualifying time between now and June 7. In the 100m, the automatic qualifying time is 10.05 seconds. In the 200m, it’s 20.24.

USA Track and Field could invite more men to either field if it deems not enough automatically qualified. Any extra invitees would be taken in order of the fastest time in the qualifying window. Hill would not get special treatment as an NFL star.

NBC Sports analyst Ato Boldon, a four-time Olympic sprint medalist who has coached NFL Draft prospects for the combine’s 40-yard dash, called Hill’s chances of qualifing for the trials “a long shot.”

“I think Tyreek is the fastest man in the NFL, but you’re not going from an entire NFL season to being an Olympic qualifier in the 100m,” Boldon tweeted. “NFL season wreaks havoc on a body. NFL season that extends through the playoffs to the Super Bowl makes it even worse.”

The only Olympians to compete in the NFL before and after their Olympics were running back Herschel Walker in bobsled (Albertville 1992) and New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner in rugby (Rio 2016).

However, former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best qualified to race the 100m for Saint Lucia in Rio. Best, though, had been doing sprint training for more than one year before the Olympics (and had not played in the NFL in four years due to concussions).

If he’s serious, Hill has four months to qualify for trials in the U.S., which has a tougher 100m standard than what Best ran to qualify for Saint Lucia (10.16 seconds). Saint Lucia had no other Olympic-caliber sprinters.

Hill would also have to make major lifestyle changes.

“But the thing is, I weigh like 195 [pounds] right now. Back in high school, when I ran a 9.9, I was like 175,” he said. “If I do it, it would be me changing my whole diet, changing everything that I’ve been doing to get to this point where I am now.”

MORE: Coronavirus wreaks havoc with sport schedules, including Olympic qualifiers

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!