At the professional level, there’s no room for two-sport athletes. Some of the best in the history of sports – Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson – pulled it off, but it’s nearly impossible for anyone outside of the elite.
New England Patriots running back/returner Jeff Demps is no exception to that rule.
In 2012, Demps signed a three-year deal with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie, but spent the entire season on the Injured Reserve list. This past February, he informed the team that he would be returning to track. Despite this obvious choice in career path, Demps is still hoping that a door remains open for him in the NFL.
“Listen coach, I want to do both, but in order for me to get to where I want to be on the track and field side, it’ll take a full year of preparation,” Demps said on Sports Talk Florida when he was asked what he would tell Patriots head honcho Bill Belichick. “And after this season, if you guys are willing to let me come back – you know, probably midseason – and work out and train and get ready for the season, I’ll be able to do that. If not, then I guess I’ll just focus on running.”
You just know Belichick chuckled when he got wind of that.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Patriots have already moved on from the speedy returner specialist. They recently signed Leon Washington, a prolific return man who shouldn’t have any trouble filling Demps’ shoes. As you can tell, the mourning period wasn’t too tedious for the Patriots.
It’s clear where Demps’ priorities lie. I’m all for pursuing your passion, but don’t think that you can put the NFL on the backburner and expect a coach like Belichick to welcome you back midseason with open arms.
There’s no dilemma here. Demps made his choice, turning his back on the team after they invested a year in him, and the Patriots have found a capable replacement. Seems crystal clear what route Belichick and Co. will take regarding Demps’ future with the team.
So long Jeff. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.