Theismann to LeBron: Play football

Theismann to LeBron: Play football
May 27, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann likes to see his name in the headlines, and with his latest proclamation he certainly succeeded.

Theismann wants to make reigning NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James into an NFL quarterback. Huh?

Theismann, speaking to Fox Sports Florida, said that with James' unique blend of size (6'8", 250 lb.), speed and athletic ability, the Miami Heat forward could step onto a football field and awe the other players.

Further, Theismann explained that James can play out the rest of his current NBA contract, and perhaps another deal, before he needs to transition to football. NFL quarterbacks can play in their late 30s, according to Theismann, while few NBA players make it to that age.

Perhaps the crux of Theismann's argument was that he be the one to train James to play quarterback. The former Redskins Super Bowl winner said plainly, "I need a job."

There is some context to support Theismann's argument.

Famously, Michael Jordan retired from basketball after winning the NBA championship in 1994 to chase his dream of playing professional baseball. Jordan's baseball experiment never truly worked, as the then best basketball player on the planet had trouble with the curve ball and never made it out of the minor leagues. Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls and won three more world titles.

LeBron did play and excel at football in high school before quitting the sport to focus solely on hoops. As a junior, LeBron accounted for 1,160 yards and 16 touchdowns, though he played wide receiver. James last played quarterback as a freshman in high school.

Former Redskins, Vikings and Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb played both basketball and football while in college at Syracuse, and current Skins qb Robert Griffin III was also a world class track star before narrowing his athletics to football.

Elite athletes can possess the talent to thrive in different arenas, most notably former football and baseball star Bo Jackson, but the combination is rarely pulled off. 

For now, LeBron looks in position to win a second NBA title, as his Miami Heat thrashed the Indiana Pacers Sunday night 114-96 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was the Pacers first home court loss this postseason. James lead the Heat with 22 points in the win, and Miami leads the series 2-1.

Theismann may have a good idea -- LeBron is certainly an athletic freak -- but NBA MVP to NFL QB will not be an easy transition.