Jets impressed with flyer Houston
Tre Houston has had his second tryout in as many weeks at an NFL team, after training with the New York Jets.
Houston is exploring a route into the NFL as a wide receiver or punt-return specialist, with his Jets workout last Thursday following on from his trial with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 26-year-old, who ran the 200 metres at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, did not make the cut with either team, but has not given up hope on winning a professional contract.
Houston believes that he acquitted himself far better with the Jets than he did the Chiefs and said the AFC East team not only praised his speed but also his handling skills.
“A lot of the things I did [at the trial] I don’t think they expected,” Houston said.
“They knew I was fast and said the same thing as KC said, that my acceleration and speed were good. The way I was catching the ball, they asked me, ‘Are you sure you haven’t played before?’
“They said my hands were very good and my positioning to catch the ball was very good.
“I also did some punt returns from the machine and they were like, ‘Today we’re not going to sign you, but we’re definitely going to keep an eye on your progression’.”
Houston, who finished sixth in his heat at the Olympics in a time of 20.85sec, said he was hoping to have further tryouts to gain more experience.
“[Jets] were really impressed with what I can do and said I just have to really learn the routes,” said Houston, who had not previously thought about switching to the NFL until a cousin asked him whether he would be interested in trying his hand at American football.
“My agent Sean Stellato said the coaches had nothing but great things to say about me. I also did a full physical, something I didn’t do with KC, so maybe this was the next step.”
Houston, who also represented Bermuda at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Delhi in 2010, will continue to train as a sprinter while he pursues his NFL ambitions.
He joins a long list of sprinters to have had NFL tryouts. Justin Gatlin, of the United States — who won the 100 at the 2004 Olympics — trained with the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers a decade ago.
Marquise Goodwin, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, also competes in long jump and represented the US at the London Olympics in 2012 and the Pan Am Games in 2015.
Other former NFL players to have had decorated track careers include “Bullet” Bob Hayes, a Super Bowl-winning wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who won two gold medals for the US at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Renaldo Nehemiah was the world’s best hurdler in the late 1970s and early Eighties before playing three seasons at the San Francisco 49ers, winning the Super Bowl in 1984.
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