In one of the weirdest stories of the NFL offseason, former players are now considering forming an Olympic handball team.
In Feburary, Jay Cutler said he could assemble a handball team that could win a gold medal — a bold claim that implied anyone could play the sport and annoyed many in the handball community as a result. Former NFL defensive back Domonique Foxworth joined in, saying handball “isn’t that hard,” which prompted USA head coach Robert Hedin to respond with a challenge for ex-NFL players.
For a while it seemed like this feud would be quickly forgotten, but apparently NFL players have long memories and might be preparing for a showdown. Nineteen current and former NFL players are training in Hungary, a group that includes Alex Mack, DeAngelo Williams and Barkevious Mingo. These players are in the country as part of the NFL’s “Football Without Borders” program, which could explain how random this all feels — but maybe there’s something more to it.
There are certain skills that translate from football to handball. The players’ overall athleticism and throwing ability could make them formidable opponents, but assuming that’s enough to become the best in the world is a stretch in logic that’s way over the top. Learning a new sport and competing against people who have trained for years is a foolish pursuit. Should they reach a point where they can compete in a match, it’s unlikely they’ll do very well.
Either way, our questions might be answered sooner rather than later. USA already has men’s and women’s handball teams, but neither have had large-scale success at the Olympic games where they compete against countries where the sport is more popular.