What may have been seen as a publicity stunt was far from a gimmick to James.
“I would have made the team,” he said. “I would have tried out, but I would have made the team. One thing about it, I don’t mind working for something, so if I would have had to try out for the Cowboys or the Seahawks, or if I’d have stayed home and went back home to Cleveland, I’d have tried (out), but I would have made the team. I just know what I’m capable of doing on the football field. Especially at that age.” James was just shy of his 27th birthday when the lockout ended on Christmas day.
Members of James’ inner circle had to talk him out of resurrecting the football career he had abandoned as a teenager.
“I always think about it,” said James, who spoke exclusively to The Athletic about his football career.
I’m sure LeBron fancied the idea of playing in the NFL. He was an excellent high school football player, as Kamrani and Oram detailed. LeBron remains a big fan of the sport. His athleticism – with strength matching his speed and leaping – would’ve translated to the highest level of football. He even trained for football during the lockout.
But LeBron was in in the midst of his incredibly lucrative basketball prime. Football, as LeBron knows, is dangerous.
There is a MASSIVE difference between LeBron entertaining the idea of playing football and actually playing in the NFL. Heck, there’s still a massive difference between LeBron breaking up the monotony of lockout training by incorporating football-centric workouts and actually playing in the NFL.
I don’t know what was in LeBron’s head in 2011. All I can say definitively: He didn’t actually play in the NFL.