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Does Olympic Champ Gable Steveson Have a Future With Buffalo Bills?

He has reported that the Bills reached out, which is not surprising, given coach Sean McDermott's affinity for wrestlers.

Gable Steveson may not do a backflip at the prospect of being an underpaid understudy to players like Star Lotulelei and Ed Oliver for a year or two.

But the Buffalo Bills certainly are hoping the recently crowned Olympic freestyle wrestling champion will give them some consideration over more tempting options that would put more money in his pocket right away.

Steveson, who still has a year of eligibility remaining at the University of Minnesota, confirmed to Sports Illustrated after winning a gold medal in Tokyo that the Bills are one of the NFL teams that contacted him about a career in pro football.

That's not surprising, given coach Sean McDermott's background. He was a two-time National Prep champion at La Salle College High School before leaving wrestling behind to concentrate on a collegiate football career at William & Mary.

What's also not surprising is that the Baltimore Ravens also have reached out. The Ravens are coached by John Harbaugh, who worked side-by-side with McDermott for nearly a decade on the Philadelphia Eagles' staff.

But the NFL coaches face heavy competition.

The man named after U.S. wrestling icon Dan Gable also has offers from the WWE, UFC and Bellator.

Steveson also is mulling over a return to Minnesota, where an offer to play football is on the table as well.

“So many great organizations and teams have reached out," he said this week. "A scout from the Bills, there is a connection with the Ravens. The Olympic gold medal is helping me see the world, so my next step is going to be a big decision. I’m going to decompress now and think about it.”

The acrobatic Steveson likely would fit best as a hybrid defensive lineman at 6-1, 270 pounds. As a finely tuned Olympic wrestler, losing weight to become a linebacker isn't really feasible, and he's likely too short to have much of a career as a tight end, even if he develops the necessary ball skills.

He would have to gain considerable weight to play offensive line, where his frame also could limit him.

But Steveson would be an instant intriguing prospect as a defensive tackle.

McDermott has long envisioned turning high-level wrestlers into Bills.

"We look for that,” McDermott said at the NFL Meetings in 2019. “I mean, at the [NFL Scouting] Combine, we would ask the players what other sports they played, so that’s one of the sports we look for. When you’re talking about leverage, hips, handfighting, balance — to me every football player, particularly interior linemen, should come up with a wrestling background.

“In fact, there’s a couple of guys on the [Penn State] team I’d like to convert to football players, particularly that heavyweight [Anthony Cassar] that they’ve got.”

One day, McDermott will get his wish.

Could it be with Steveson?

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.