Shot to Nothing

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Against the Grain

Do you like my shiny Helmet?Its not unusual, early in the summer of every year, to see a raft of new, twenty-something, sprinting talents come over from the U.S.A. to compete in the many events that make up Europe's Athletics' Circuit. There seems to be a seemingly endless supply of them in fact (bastards!) and they all start to appear around mid-May which is, curiously enough, not long after the NFL draft.

Whilst there have been several failed footballers that have become track sensations over the years, Xavier 'X-man' Carter and Leonard Scott are a couple of the more recent ones, there have been very few who made the transition the other way; from failed athlete to NFL player.

The last two months have seen two huge names in track and field try to do exactly that however and whilst no-one could say that their performances on the track were failures, both were caught on the wrong end of a pointy stick. As it were.

Justin 'The Gun' Gatlin and Dwain 'the not so gun' Chambers both tested positive for different illegal substances and both were given bans that effectively ended their careers. Oh and both of them now harbour dreams of playing in the NFL of-course (as do I, despite the severe lack of supreme athletical ability, the fact I'm already 27 and what looks like the early onset of a decent pair of 'man boobs'). Their prospective paths are both very different though.

In November and December Gatlin worked out for both the Houston Texans(!) and the Arizona Cardinals(!!) and impressed both teams. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that team officals told Gatlin he was 'very impressive' after his work out. Which means exactly squat of-course; I mean, come on, I told my sister she looked 'pretty impressive' the other night on her way out to the club and that's only a goat and jumper away from being 'very impressive' right? Surely...

Meanwhile Chambers has been setting his lofty sights on NFL Europe and has been to several training camps, impressing and progressing along the way, according to the coaches. "He is very determined and that's impressed us. And he has a vital quality that you can't coach - raw speed." David Tossel said and also mentioned that Chambers was "tougher then they thought." So... 'very impressive' then?

Chambers undoubtedly has the more difficult road ahead, not just because he's British (which can be detrimental to us all at times...) but also because he's 28 to Gatlins 24 and 5'10 to Gatlins 6'1. They both weigh in at approximately 180 pounds and they are both looking to play at the wide receiver position.

Either way, whether they are good enough or not the big question is will the NFL welcome the two, disgraced former sprinters into their ranks with open arms or will they hold them at arms length?



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