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NFL and college football players set to make some cool history in 2016 Rio Olympics

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Hey, the Olympics start Friday. That's pretty fun.

Plenty of football players have competed in the Summer Olympics — including Pro Football Hall of Famers Bob Hayes, Ollie Matson, and Jim Thorpe and Longhorns-turned-Bills WR Marquise Goodwin — though they did so before their NFL careers began, almost all of them between their college and pro careers.

Before 2016, Herschel Walker was the only NFL player to have competed during his NFL career, running bobsled in the 1992 Winter Olympics.

This year will be a little different, with current players all over the place. An active Power 5 college player, a recent college star with a bright NFL career cut short, and the first-ever active NFL player in the Summer Olympics will compete in Rio.

Oregon’s Devon Allen, who scored seven touchdowns as a 2014 freshman, plans to dart back to Eugene to make it onto the field in time for the second game. He’s considered the favorite to win gold in the 110-meter hurdles for the United States.

He says football teaches him more about track, and vice versa:

"Football’s one of those things," Allen said to SB Nation. "You learn a lot from it, and it makes you adjust and it has you not really panic. And sometimes in track and field, a lot of athletes panic if something goes wrong, and I’m kind of one of those guys who says, ‘Hey, whatever comes, it will come, and I’ll be okay,’ and kind of roll with the flow, roll with the punches."

"In football, in Autzen, you have 60,000 fans, and then track, there’s only 20,000. So it kind of feels like a little bit less pressure, less stick. Some of the track athletes might be a little bit nervous and in awe of the fans and the atmosphere, but I’ve been used to it," Allen said. "I’ve been playing in it for the last couple years, so I can kind of manage it pretty well. I’m real comfortable."

Remember All-Pac-10 Cal running back Jahvid Best, who played two years with the Lions before injuries cut his career short? He’s running the 100 meters for Caribbean nation Saint Lucia, making him the first former NFL player in any Olympics.

Jahvid Best is heading to the Olympics

Concussions ended this Cal Bears legend's career way too soon, but now we'll see him again -- at Rio 2016.

Publicado por SB Nation College Football em Domingo, 24 de julho de 2016

And former Ohio State walk-on Nate Ebner becomes the first current NFL player to do so in the Summer Games, getting permission from Bill Belichick to play rugby for America instead of some fall camp. (Watch the rugby instead of preseason NFL or college fall camp stuff.)

From Super Bowl to Olympic rugby

The first-ever active NFL player to qualify for the Summer Olympics: Ohio State Buckeyes product.

Publicado por SB Nation College Football em Sábado, 23 de julho de 2016

So there you go. Some football rooting interests in addition to our country and/or your country and the original #UGA. Am I missing anybody?

Also, if each country could only send one rep, The Rock could be the choice, thanks to his work as a Miami defensive lineman, of course.


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