LeBron James had invitations from Cowboys and Seahawks to try out: 'I would have made the team'

Frank Schwab
·3 min read

LeBron James' football career will always be fascinating.

Considering James' size, athletic prowess, work ethic and high-school football career as a dominant receiver, it doesn't seem crazy at all to think James would have made the NFL had he chosen that sport.

James thinks he would have made the NFL, even without a college career and a decade away from the sport.

In a fantastic story by The Athletic on James' high-school football career, James addressed getting invitations from the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks during the NBA lockout in 2011. Befitting an all-time great who is tracking to be the oldest MVP in NBA history, James has no doubt he could have become a success in the NFL too.

LeBron James confident he'd have made it in the NFL

James talked to The Athletic about his football career, and he recalled Cowboys owner Jerry Jones inviting him to try out in 2011 and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sending him a custom jersey with an invitation. He obviously didn't accept either offer, but he told The Athletic he "seriously considered" the Cowboys' invitation and even started adjusting his training and running routes.

“I would have made the team,” James told The Athletic. “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 talked out of trying out for the NFL by his inner circle, the story said. That's good for the NBA and probably the sporting world as a whole, but it would have been fun to see James try football.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was a standout wide receiver in high school. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was a standout wide receiver in high school. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

James was recruited by great college football programs

Given the list of college basketball players who have found success in the NFL without playing college football — Antonio Gates, a likely future Hall of Famer, leads that list — it's not hard to imagine James doing the same.

James' football ability will always be part of his legend, and it adds to the myth that he didn't play after his junior season in high school. James told The Athletic he was recruited by then-Notre Dame receivers coach Urban Meyer and other big-time football programs. He had opportunities. We'll never know what he could have been.

James clearly made the right call. He's one of the greatest NBA players ever and has shown no signs of slowing down at age 36. But just imagine what it would have been like if, in his prime, he had signed with the Cowboys.

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