Wednesday June 8th, 2016

Your teams. Your favorite writers. Wherever you want them. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.​

Bills head coach Rex Ryan thinks Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James could play in the NFL.

“I don't know a whole lot about [basketball], but that big ol’ rascal can come play tight end for us, if he wants to,” Ryan told reporters on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Mike Rodak.  “I think it would work out well. You look at him. He’s physical. Unbelievable. Look at the range. There’s nobody that can cover him. There’s no way you can cover him. Fast, physical. We’ll give it a shot.”

For years, many have speculated whether James, who starred in high school as a football player, could ever make it in the pros. He said in 2013 that he wanted to try to play one game in the NFL “before it’s over.”

In Sports Illustrated's first cover story on James, dated Feb. 18, 2002, Grant Wahl wrote that James had talked his mother into letting him continue playing on his high school football team as he began to dominate in hoops.

LeBron may be the reason for the hysteria, but he isn't your typical high school hoops phenom. For the last two years, in fact, he has risked career-threatening injury as an all-state wide receiver on the St. Vincent-St. Mary football team. At first Gloria refused to let LeBron play last fall, but after the 22-year-old singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash last August, he persuaded her to let him play. "You're not promised tomorrow," LeBron says. "I had to be out on the field with my team." Though LeBron did break the index finger of his left (nonshooting) hand, he helped lead the Irish to the state semifinals.

During his playing career, he’s spent time around football teams as well, like the Ohio State Buckeyes and Dallas Cowboys.

– Kenny Ducey

 

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.