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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: NBA Player LeBron James celebrates Nickelodeon's largest ever Worldwide Day of Play at the Ellipse on September 24, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
The extension of the NBA lockout into the first two weeks of the regular season has a number of NBAers feeling a bit restless. One can only play in so many glorified all-star games before the need for real competition becomes too big to ignore.
LeBron James sought to do something about that for himself Tuesday when he sent out a tweet to ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton. "When is the deadline for a team to sign a free agent?" he asked.
Maybe that appearance at his alma mater's football practice last week was not merely a diversion from his lockout-extended vacation, after all.
In all seriousness, there's no way James would risk his highly lucrative basketball career by playing football. But more than a few people on Twitter took the tweet more seriously than they should.
Not that they didn't have any reason at all to believe James could actually make an NFL roster if he really tried. As a high-schooler he was an all-state wide receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, catching 61 passes for 1,245 yards and 16 touchdowns his junior year.
Though he did not play his senior year due to a wrist injury suffered in a basketball game, his football talent was evident. College football recruiting guru Tom Lemming said in 2009 that if James was totally devoted to football, "he would have been one of the best receivers in college."
So could James play in the NFL today? Anyone who saw former UM center Jimmy Graham play tight end for one season with the Canes can attest that the transition from basketball to football is not an easy one. Even a freakishly gifted athlete like James would need a year or so to get up to speed.
So since he won't be very good at first, perhaps he could suit up for the Dolphins and help out with the Suck for Luck campaign. Short of winning an NBA Title with the Heat, it's the best thing he could do for his fans in South Florida.