In an era of early specialization where kids are focusing on just one sport earlier than ever, it is refreshing to see and hear about athletes who played and excelled in multiple sports. With athletes committing to schools earlier and earlier, many are forced to pick and stick with one sport. What the one-sport approach often fails to consider is how the skills learned in one game typically help transfer over to another. We are grateful that the following athletes have decided to showcase their athleticism and versatility in multiple sports. While everyone knows about guys like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, we will take you through guys that you have seen excel in one sport, but may not know that they were or still are multi-sport athletes.
While it seems like the announcers make a point to mention it every time he catches a jump ball touchdown, they are in fact correct that Jimmy Graham played basketball at the U (Miami) before joining the football team. As they say, the rest is history, and Jimmy Graham has been a dominant force in the NFL with the Saints, Seahawks, Packers, and most currently, the Bears. Graham has been able to use the same height and vertical jump that helped him start on a team in one of the toughest, if not the hardest, conferences in college basketball (ACC) to dominate smaller defensive backs in football. His athleticism was on full display during his infamous touchdown celebration where he destroyed the goalpost. For most people, playing basketball at the D-I level usually is considered an incredible athletic career, but for Jimmy Graham, it was just the beginning.
Continuing with the trend of athletes who played a different sport in college before transitioning to the NFL is Chris Hogan. Hogan was a Super Bowl winning wide receiver with the New England Patriots and at one point, had been a member of every AFC East team. However before that, Hogan was a member of the lacrosse team at Penn State. In his final year at Penn State, he was the team’s leading scorer with 29 goals. The quickness and physicality he used on the lacrosse field helped ready him for playing in the NFL. After bouncing around the NFL for around 10 years, Hogan has found himself back on the lacrosse field; he recently signed a deal with the Cannons Lacrosse Club in the up-and-coming Premier Lacrosse League, or PLL.
Most people start heading over to the golf course once they retire as a way to pass the time in retirement; however, John Brodie’s golf career post-retirement was due to the fact that he chose to play in the NFL rather than competing in both the NFL and on the PGA Tour at the same time. He went on to win a PGA Tour Senior Event and was competitive in many other tournaments in the sport. As a quarterback for the 49ers, Brodie received numerous accolades, including NFL MVP in 1970. Not bad for a guy who initially thought that he would be playing basketball and baseball instead of football and golf at Stanford.
The vast majority of athletes dedicate their lives to training for one sport — let alone two. These athletes’ ability to excel at two sports at some of the highest levels in the world serve as inspiration to those that hope to win championships in beer league hockey, slow-pitch softball, or pickup basketball leagues.