By Will Burchfield/Follow Will @Burchie_kid
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Usain Bolt is the most decorated track athlete of all time.
But if he ever wanted to play football, Lions’ coach Jim Caldwell thinks the “Lightning Bolt” could be a dynamic wide receiver.
“He’s 6’5. I don’t know what he would time out in a 40-yard dash, but it’s probably somewhere around 4.1, something or another, right? So it’s unheard of, it’s just a matter of whether or not he can catch.”
Bolt is plenty adept at catching sprinters in relay races, but catching Matthew Stafford-flung footballs is another matter. It’s hard to judge his hand-eye coordination as a sprinter, but surely a pair of those ultra-sticky receiver’s gloves wouldn’t hurt.
(For all his receiver-like attributes, maybe Bolt is better suited for a different position. His 50-yard javelin throw on Sunday morning suggests he has quite the arm.)
Bolt has never indicated any interest in picking up football – not the American kind, at least. But he has had a much-ballyhooed love affair with Manchester United over the years, most recently suggesting he could be worthy of a five-year contact.
The obsession with casting Bolt in other sports always comes back to his otherworldly speed. Coordinated or not, the fastest man in the world would figure to be an impact player on just about any field or court.
In fact, this assumption has led a number of former track stars to pursue careers on the gridiron. Caldwell mentioned John Carlos, Bob Hayes, Willie Gault and Renaldo Nehemiah in particular, remembering Nehemiah as “a great hurdler with the 49ers.”
Caldwell himself was a standout football player with a background in track. Before excelling as a cornerback at the University of Iowa, he apparently ran the 400-meter event in high school – although the coach felt that was a generous description.
“I don’t know if you’d call it that,” Caldwell laughed. “But I heard the gun go off. I’m sure you could look it up and find it somewhere.”