|Brandon Lloyd to Usain Bolt: ‘Football players are the best athletes in the world’||08.06.12 at 7:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In the moments following Usain Bolt‘s Olympic 100 meter sprint of 9.63 seconds on Sunday, Twitter exploded with suggestions that Bolt should learn how to catch a football because he would be lock as an NFL wide receiver.
Brandon Lloyd says not so fast.
“In my opinion I feel that football players are the best athletes on the planet because we do have backgrounds in multiple sports and we do have the ability to compete in multiple sports at a high level in my opinion,” Lloyd said. “I think straight line speed doesn’t necessarily transfer to football speed.”
The most famous example of this crossover came in the early 1980s when Willie Gault signed with the Bears.
A star in both football and track at the University of Tennessee, Gault was part of a world record-setting 4 x 100 meter relay team, a 110 meter hurdler who would have gone to the 1980 Summer Olympics had the United States not boycotted the Games in Moscow. He was an All-American wide receiver in 1982. Willie Gault averaged almost 24 yards per kick return and scored 4 touchdowns in 78 attempts, including 3 in 1980.
Lloyd has earned a reputation for unorthodox and sometimes spectacular catches he credits to his time in track and field.
“I attribute that to my high jumping when I was in high school,” Lloyd said. “I did a lot of visualizing and preparing to jump at high heights that you can’t practice. I couldn’t jack myself up in practice enough to clear seven feet, but I could visualize it and visualize the timing and I was so successful at that, that I thought I’d transfer that over to football. So when I look at the call sheet and I look at the plays I just imagine catching any possible way. [I] visualize every coverage, visualize any catch—one hand, two hands, anything—so when it happens it feels like I’ve already been there almost.”
Gault was drafted in 1983, played with the Bears until 1988 and then was traded to the Raiders. NFL scouts deemed Gault biggest asset to be his pure straight line burst. What’s ironic is that he was the primary long-pass threat on a team known as one of best defensive teams in history. In Super Bowl XX against the Pats, Gault had four receptions for 129 yards, and four kickoff returns for 49 yards.
Gault finished his 11 NFL seasons with 333 receptions for 6,635 yards. He also returned 9 punts for 60 yards, rushed for 154 yards, returned 45 kickoffs for 1,088 yards, and scored 45 touchdowns.
As for his own career, Lloyd is only concerned with building his trust with Tom Brady, a trust that has been in evidence in the first 10 days of training camp.
“It’s just important in building trust with the guys to do my job, to be accountable and to make good plays when my number’s called,” Lloyd said Monday after practice. “I think that all factors in there and it’s just how I’ve been playing since I was young and it’s just something that drives me in trying to be perfect out on the practice field.
“I take pride in it and I feel like every ball is catchable.”
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