NFL Stars of Past and Present Who Were Draft-Worthy in Rival Sports

Such are the wealth of skills required for a football player to make it through the rigors of college football to star in the NFL, that many just simply do not have what it takes, with either the mental or physical aspects of their game falling down.

However, there are some athletes who are so gifted that not only do scouts from their chosen sport come calling, but scouts from completely different sports also join the bidding.

In cases such as these it is usually football coaches and scouts who do the stealing, with many an NFL wide receiver picked up from a varsity soccer or rugby program.

Here are some of the athletes who had big decisions to make both during their college tenure and when it came time to leave the safety of campus to join the big leagues, with multiple professional sports team vying for them to sign on the dotted line.

Jim Brown

Most men on this list are here because they played one other sport, aside from football, to a ridiculously high level, but in the case of Jim Brown he was a crack hand at not just two but four sporting pursuits.

As well as performing to an outstanding level in track and basketball during his college days, Brown was also a standout lacrosse player who earned his all-star stripes.

In the end the money and bright lights of the NFL ensured he joined the gridiron fold and considering he became arguably the best running back ever, it would seem he made the correct decision. The records he set during his nine-year spell in the NFL are still the benchmark for any budding running back looking to turn the heads of NFL odds tipsters, scouts and head coaches alike.

Not content with having dominated every sporting endeavor he ever turned his hand to, Brown became an actor upon retiring, making a pretty good go of conquering Hollywood.

No one sent cheerleaders wild quite like Jim Brown did

Willie Gault

Whereas Brown experienced most of his other sporting adventures in college, Willie Gault was already winning medals at the Athletics World Championships in 1983 before the NFL, with his performances catching the eye of NFL scouts who saw the potential to turn him into a dangerous receiver.

Having risen to the top in two sports, Gault then decided to give winter sports a go, riding with the US bobsled team for a while.

Gault just never could give up that adrenaline rush one gets from athletic competition

Odell Beckham Jr.

As we previously alluded to, soccer is a rich hunting ground for NFL scouts on the lookout for a man whose twinkle toes with a soccer ball could be transferred over into being the fleet feet of a wide receiver.

Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns is one such athlete, who was given the opportunity to play soccer beyond college level but balked at having to move to Europe.

Soccer’s loss was football’s gain, with Beckham Jr. being one of the hottest talents in the game today. It is unclear if he has any designs of going into bobsledding when he retires, but never say never!

Bo Jackson

While most of the time the huge contracts of the NFL mean that athletes are lured to gridiron, there are those rare exceptions where a player trades in the football life for one elsewhere, and perhaps where a career can be longer and less strenuous on the body.

That is exactly what Bo Jackson did, and in style, becoming the only player in history to be an MLB and NFL all-star. For a time, Jackson even played both sports simultaneously, which is almost unthinkable in the modern game.

The only other NFL player who came close to achieving the same amount of notoriety in both sports was Deion Sanders who managed to feature in both a World Series and a Super Bowl.