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

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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

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Julie, Zach Ertz share what they learned from each other’s sports

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As Julie Ertz prepares for an Olympic year, and her husband a potential NFL playoff run, each can draw on the other’s experiences at the pinnacle of their sports.

Ertz and husband Zach, a Philadelphia Eagles tight end, discussed swapping training ideas, among other topics, on The Peter King Podcast.

The full 53-minute episode is here.

Ertz said she has grown to love watching match film after seeing Zach’s passion for studying.

“How important it is to pay attention to detail, even through route running,” she said on the podcast. “If somebody’s in the wrong spot, the whole play is kind of messed up. Every play is different, and in soccer it’s obviously a little bit more fluid, but it allowed me to stay more aware of where I am on the field.”

Zach said he was driven by training with Ertz, especially through core work. They’ve done yoga and Pilates together. Mentally, he can appreciate an athlete who trains for one or two major events every four years.

“The World Cup and the Olympics are what you’re going to be judged on as a player in her sport … it’s twice every four years, and so those two years you don’t have a quote-unquote big tournament, you can let your preparation lack if you really weren’t dedicated, if you weren’t fully invested,” he said. “But the way I see Julie train each and every day, she’s always training to be the best person she can be. She’s not training for the end result. She’s training for being a better player today than she was yesterday.”

Ertz, 27 and the 2017 U.S. Player of the Year, was part of World Cup title teams in 2015 and this past summer, but she doesn’t have an Olympic medal.

The U.S. was upset by Sweden in the quarterfinals in Rio. Ertz kept a photo from the match as a screen saver on her phone as a reminder of unfinished business.

“It was a horrible heartbreak that I’d never had before,” she said.

MORE: Rio Olympic women’s soccer champions fail to qualify for Tokyo

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Marquise Goodwin serious about NFL to Olympics run

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Marquise Goodwin, the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, insists he wasn’t kidding when he proclaimed in April that he would win the 2020 Olympic long jump.

“Yes, 100 percent interest,” Goodwin said Tuesday. “But we’re talking about football right now. 2020 next year.”

Goodwin is already an Olympian, finishing 10th in the long jump at the 2012 London Games before his last season at the University of Texas. After two seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Goodwin went back to the track and failed in a Rio Olympic bid even though he had the world’s two farthest jumps that year going into the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Goodwin said he had “ceased competing” in track and field when he was suspended one year from April 1, 2017, for not updating drug-testing whereabouts forms. Goodwin stopped filling out the forms after going back to the NFL in 2016.

But now, at 28, he could look to become the oldest U.S. man to compete in an Olympic long jump since Carl Lewis won his record fourth straight gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games. His best long jump in 2016 — 8.45 meters — would rank first among Americans in this Olympic cycle.

However, Goodwin did not provide specifics Tuesday on when he would return to competition.

“It’s just offseason, same way I did it in high school, college, NFL,” he said. “Just make it happen. It’s all on my off time. I use it as part of my training. What I do in long jump, in track and field, definitely correlates with what I do as a wide receiver with being fast, being explosive, putting my foot down. It’s the same mechanics that I use in football.”

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