Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace loves him some LeBron James. So much, in fact, that he's echoing what other big-play wideouts have been saying for years: James would be a terror as an NFL pass catcher.
"I saw this guy coming out of high school just dunking like crazy and coming into the league, and he's been my favorite ever since," Wallace said via FoxSportsFlorida.com. "Look at him, he's the greatest athlete on the planet. I feel there's no greater talent than LeBron. You throw him a couple of passes and get him a couple of routes, and he'll be all right. I think you line him up at tight end. I don't know about the blocking aspect, but you can teach him. You show him a couple of things and the sky is the limit."
"That dude is just that talented," Bryant told ESPN Dallas at the time. "I think it would take him probably about a good two weeks to get very acquainted with football, knowing what he's supposed to do. I think that's all he'd need with his physical ability. I've seen a little bit of his highlights from high school. He's got the hands, he can run the routes, he's fast enough. He could play in this league if he put it all together. …
"All he'd need to do is probably work on a little technique," Bryant continued. "It's not like he's never played football before. He has played football. I think he'd be a beast in the red zone. I think he could do it. I think he could do it, seriously."
Four years ago, Randy Moss, who was twice named Mr. Basketball in West Virginia before dominating the NFL when he felt like it, was asked about LeBron, NFL player. His response? Also over-the-top laudatory.
"LeBron James is the athlete that comes around every so often," Moss told ESPN.com's Tim Graham in May 2009. "I would put myself in that category. We're multi-talented, able to go out and play different sports, different positions." ...
"That's a good comparison," Moss said. "I think LeBron could come in and do better than Antonio Gates. ... I believe that he could be a star in this game."
(Here's a quick clip of James' high school football exploits. Make of it what you will.)
James is listed at 6-8, 250. By comparison, one of the NFL's tallest tight ends, Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, is 6-6, 272. And the Saints' do-everything Jimmy Graham is 6-7, 265. Put another way: LeBron is light by NFL standards. That doesn't mean some enterprising coach wouldn't find ways to exploit his talents in this make-believe world where LeBron actually plays football, just that we don't think he'd roll out of bed and and start dominating. (Not unless he played the Eagles every week.)
One person who ain't buying all this? Former NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey, who tweeted this a few months after Moss' comments above.
everyone trust me Lebron James could not play in the NFL! espn is crazy to even think he could even make a practice squad. hes a 4.9 40 time— Jeremy Shockey (@JeremyShockey) November 18, 2009
Thankfully, LeBron doesn't need to play in the NFL for us to know if he'd be a superstar or scout-team material. Back in 2011, CBSSports.com's Will Brinson went through the painstaking effort of creating LeBron in Madden '12.
Because playing video games and calling it work is what 30-somethings do these days. Enjoy:
Mystery solved. Hopefully, we never speak of this again.