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Breakfast: Could Usain Bolt play wide receiver?


While I was getting my four miles in on the treadmill late last night, Texans radio color analyst and 1989 Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware sent the Voice of the Texans Marc Vandermeer and myself a simple four word text.

"Could Bolt play wide receiver?"

Jamaica's Usain Bolt is arguably the greatest sprinter in the history of track and field and won the 200 meters in Rio on Thursday night in 19.78 seconds. He coasted the last 20-30 meters and had clearly distanced himself from the pack right from the gun.

On the bus heading to the airport on Sunday evening, we were all gawking/watching Bolt win the 100 meters, running down the leaders over the last 30 meters of the race. He'll go for the unprecedented triple-triple on Friday as he attempts to win gold in the 4x100 meter relay. That would be three gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 meters in three consecutive Olympics.

Bolt is listed at 6-5 and 207 pounds, which is a bit unusual for a sprinter. As Andre pointed out, he's built more like a wide receiver than a track and field sprinter.

Could he play receiver? How long would it take him to learn how to catch the ball while running faster than any human on the planet?

The 49ers once signed Renaldo "Skeets" Nehemiah, thought to be the greatest hurdler in the world at the time, cheated out of going to Moscow in 1980 for the summer games there. Nehemiah played four years and only caught 43 passes for 754 yards, just under 18 yards per catch. His speed threatened teams down the field, but he was largely thought to be an experiment that didn't pan out.

But, could Bolt be different? Could Bolt learn the route tree? How would he react to press coverage? Could he make a catch and get two feet in bounds? How scared would defensive backs be to see him run a nine route?

Andre's question got my mind racing and thinking.

Could Bolt do it?

He's free after Friday and should have some time on his hands soon.

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