LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavs tosses a pass before the Dallas Cowboys 28-10 win over the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium
Phot by Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Jason Kelce: ‘If I was An NFL GM, I’d Sign LeBron Today’

Former NBA player Austin Rivers said on the Pat Mcafee Show, "I can take 30 players right now in the NBA and throw them in the NFL. You cannot take 30 NFL players and put them in the NBA. All you've got to do is catch the ball and run north or south."

Former Pittsburgh Steelers' safety Ryan Clark acknowledged the athleticism of NBA players, but pointed out that they lack the mental fortitude to be able to survive in a football environment. Clark refuted Rivers' point by saying that football players are more, "dynamic, bigger, faster, stronger."

Recently retired center for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Kelce, responded to his NFL counterpart, saying, "But, if I was an NFL GM, and it was an option, I'd sign Lebron today and within one offseason he'd be the greatest red zone threat in the NFL."

It's safe to say, 6-foot-8, 240 pounds of sheer athleticism probably will translate to having the ability to find success in a lot of sports. Would LeBron James dominate in the game of football?... Well you don't have to imagine, as a 16-year-old, the kid from Akron was already a 2x all-state high school football player. Notably, during his sophomore year, LeBron had 46 catches for 905 yards and seven touchdowns. Then in his junior year, he had 57 receptions, 1,160 yards, 16 touchdowns. To put into perspective, Calvin Johnson, who holds the NFL record for most receiving yards in a season, (1,964 yards in 2012) had less catches, yards and touchdowns when comparing his high school junior year stats: 40 receptions, 736 yards, eight touchdowns.

ESPN sports writer Brian Windhorst, who went to the same school as LeBron at St. Vincent St. Mary's High School, covered James while at the Akron Beacon Journal, "If he really wanted to be a full-out wide receiver, he probably could have had 500 more yards receiving and 10 more touchdowns. He just had to protect himself, which you can't blame him for."

During the 2011 NBA lockout, Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, and Seattle Seahawks head coach, Pete Carrol, gave LeBron a real offer to play in the NFL. 

"I would have made the team," James said in an interview with The Athletic in 2021. "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."

The closest thing we will ever see to a grown-up LeBron playing football, was when he went head-to-head against Kevin Durant in a flag football game in 2011, which was captured by ESPN cameras at an event which took place at the University of Akron's indoor athletic field. Notably, LeBron not only showcased his Randy Moss deep-threat capability, but also showed he can play defense, as a ball-hawking safety, he returned two interceptions for a touchdown in the game, as Team LeBron went on to beat Team Durant, 70-63.

LeBron might be an anomaly in the NBA/NFL player transition debate, as it's not hard to imagine, a 4.5 40-time, 40-inch vertical, 6'8", 240, the world's all-time leading scorer in the sport of basketball, with all the intangibles, becoming an all-time great NFL tight end, being put in the same category as a Deion Sanders/Bo Jackson multi-sport athlete.