Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps has been drawing a lot of attention from teams in the NFL as of late, and you can count the Philadelphia Eagles among those interested. Demps, a member of the United States 400 meter relay team has expressed his interest in trying his hand at football, as he officially filed paperwork earlier in the week to join the NFL, despite vigorously denying his interest over the last year. He will be a free agent and will be allowed to sign with the team of his choosing.
Demps is not your average undrafted free agent who is hoping to land a spot on someone’s 53 man roster. His rare athletic ability could be the impetus behind a bidding war that would substantially fatten his wallet. To the same extent, the potentially high salary for an undersize and somewhat unproven football player could scare teams away. This would not be his first foray onto the gridiron, however. During his tenure as a track star for the Florida Gators, Demps still managed to carry the ball 367 times for 2,470 yards and 23 touchdowns.
The Eagles are always looking to add speed to an already explosive offense, and they don’t come much speedier than Demps. He is likely projected as a third down running back and return specialist in the NFL. The woes of the Eagles return game have been much publicized, and adding Demps would certainly give that group an instant shot of potential. Philadelphia has showed some explosiveness in the return game so far in training camp and their first preseason game, but there is no way to determine whether or not that is sustainable with their current options.
Members of the Eagles executive team have indicated that they are intrigued by Demps, but that nothing is likely to come of their interest. If rookie Damaris Johnson continues to excite in the return game, the Eagles may find they have no need for a rookie returner who may demand a much higher salary. Interestingly enough, Demps (5’7”, 190 pounds) is of a similar stature to Johnson, who weighs in at 5’8 and 170 pounds.
Whether or not the Eagles seriously pursue Demps, at least they are keeping their options open and thinking outside of the box when looking for ways to improve their team.