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Joe Theismann and the ridiculous idea of LeBron as an NFL quarterback

May 27, 2013, 12:32 PM EDT

LeBron James Football Getty Images

Sometimes at PBT an item crosses our desk (or laptop, in reality) that we shrug off as ludicrous and move on. But then that item circles around to become a thing, a talking point around the Web and we need to address it. This is one of those cases.

Joe Theismann, the former NFL quarterback who changed his last name pronunciation to rhyme with Heisman, thinks he could help LeBron James be an NFL quarterback once he’s done with basketball. That’s what he told Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida.

“I would love to work him out and also serve as his agent,” Theismann said in a phone interview Saturday with FOX Sports Florida. “I’ll go wherever he wants this summer. He could play another four years in the NBA before seriously trying the NFL. … There are not a lot of 38- or 39-year-old basketball players, but there are 38- and 39-year-old quarterbacks, so there’s always time for him.”

This all started because someone asked LeBron if he thought he could have been a good quarterback.

“I think so,” said James, who played quarterback on the freshman team at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, in 1999 before shifting to wide receiver on the varsity in 2000 and 2001. As a senior in 2002, James chose to concentrate on basketball. “I have the ability. I can see and read plays. I study a lot, so I know defenses and things of that nature. So I would have been pretty good if I had decided to go for it.”


Is there any athlete in any sport that doesn’t think he could have been absolutely great at some other job? They all think they could be rap stars or congressmen or business tycoons or whatever. It’s rarely true.

Does LeBron James have the athleticism to play in the NFL? Yes. Even his most ardent critics grant he’s a physical freak of nature. Does LeBron have the mentality to take the punishment that comes with playing in the NFL? I don’t know, I don’t care enough to think about it, so draw your own conclusions.

Why is Theismann even discussing this? I think the omniscient (and seemingly omnipresent) Mike Florio summed it up well at ProFootballTalk.

So why is Theismann willing to help James?  “I need a job,” Theismann said.

Apparently, hawking prostate pills doesn’t pay as much as you’d think.

  1. apmn - May 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Except that an NFL quarterback has to be The Man on the team. LeBron has already run away from that once. Maybe he would do it if they let him have Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Adrian Peterson on his team.

    • cantonbound13 - May 27, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      Funny, yet so true.

  2. skinsovieterps - May 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I for one would love to see her at QB. I salivate at the thought of Ryan Kerrigan on one side and Brian Orakpo coming unblocked from the other and splitting that worthless human in half.

    • cullenand99 - May 27, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      Wow, you’re life must suck.

      • cullenand99 - May 27, 2013 at 9:46 PM


    • badintent - May 29, 2013 at 2:18 AM

      Why the hate ? He’s replacing RG III.So Big Blue can sack him.LBJ would jump over half the LBs trying to tackle him in the open field. His arm strength would be in the top 10.He could see over the linemen and spin out of would be tacklers. I see only a huge upside.You know he would get a great reception playing the Browns before he destroyed them. ha. Joe would be an excellent teacher, but must sign a contract that restricts him from talking about himself for more than 2 minutes.

  3. onbucky96 - May 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Ah yes, Joe again suffering from diarrhea of the mouth. Shut up Joe, and P.S. Notre Dame will suck again!

  4. adoombray - May 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    This is not a talking point or a thing, its a repost from PFT and classic Helin “this is so dumb that this is being reported, UGH, HERES THE ENTIRE REPORT”

    The fake disgust is insulting to your readers intelligence please stop with the angle

    • Kurt Helin - May 27, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Says the guy who clicked on the story and left a comment.

      You realize one of the great things about the Internet is you don’t have to read stories you don’t want to. Also, I was tipped off to this story before PFT picked it up, I didn’t want to do it, but again, it became a thing people were talking about. So here we are.

      • adoombray - May 27, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        Yeah, because i’m a loyal fan of the website and of NBC in general, and getting clicks and comments is kind of the idea of sports blogs so again I don’t understand your negativity. You run the article word for word, then you are reporting it, and don’t get to be ugh. I click n comment, the website gets more traffic, ads worth more, and the goal of getting people to read your blog is achieved. Everybody wins in that scenario, but when Joe Theismann is given a soapbox, and he plainly says he is running his mouth because he is unemployed and irrelevent, everybody loses. 😛

        I’m not trying to come into your house and pee on your rug, because it really ties the room together, but this is akin to jumping into a pile of dog doo doo then complaining about the smell

      • reasonablemindsays - May 28, 2013 at 12:05 AM

        What a professional

  5. giantssb42champs - May 27, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Hi Joe the “1980s Celebrities Now Irrelevant” reality show just called looking for you.

  6. golfrangeman - May 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    LBJ has increased the value of the Heat franchise over $200 million. What are you worth?

    • apmn - May 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      About ten bucks. Maybe $15. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

  7. mungman69 - May 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    James would have been something to watch if he had come up just playing football. Hell, there are a lot of NBA players that would have made good NFL players. James- 6’9″, 250 lbs. and runs like a deer. With some training he could play just about anywhere. Could you see Jordan at wide receiver? Yes, he would have been a great one.

  8. notoriousjebus - May 27, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Lebron could totally be an amazing NFL player. This reminds me of back in the day when Jordan went to play baseball. We all remember how aweso… Oh never mind.

  9. nbascreed - May 27, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    “Is there any athlete in any sport that doesn’t think he could have been absolutely great at some other job?” -Beta Male who’s never known the world of the Alpha.

    • kibblesnvick - May 27, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Goddamn your site sucks.

      • nbascreed - May 27, 2013 at 9:20 PM

        ROFL! It does need some work!

  10. steelers4385 - May 27, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Joe blow

  11. steelers4385 - May 27, 2013 at 2:09 PM


  12. laserrocketarm12 - May 27, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    With all of his presence and natural ability, I learned many years ago to never question LeBron. He could definitely do it, if he was 100% into it.

  13. andreweac - May 27, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Lebron could probably be a better NFL QB than Tim Tebow right now. Not that is saying much…

  14. jbeagles23 - May 27, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Lol at the fact someone thinks lbj would be intimated by anyone on the skins. What a terrible franchise with a pos qb

    • scalfor3 - May 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      Uh oh, are you one of those people that think RGIII is a POS because he’s supposedly a “cornball brother”?

  15. jhuck92 - May 27, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    If he doesn’t like the Bulls’ physical, “non-basketball” plays, there’s no way LeBron could make it in the NFL. Nate Robinson would be a better basketball-turned-football player.

  16. cowboysallday - May 27, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I hate theisman so much

  17. scalfor3 - May 27, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Takes much more than athleticism to play QB in the NFL. Also, I really don’t care about your prostate problems, Joe

  18. ohiogator - May 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    There’s always some kinda crap coming out of this guys mouth.

  19. sonnyboychris - May 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I can’t stand Lebron but this article is something I’d expect to read on the Bleacher Report. Waaahhh waaah waaah

  20. j0esixpack - May 27, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    The Jets would start him over Sanchez immediately.

    • badintent - May 29, 2013 at 2:25 AM

      Hell yeah, faster runner, faster decision maker and his huge hands won’t fumble the ball every other series.,

  21. borderline1988 - May 27, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Obviously noone knows whether he can actually be a legitimate NFL QB. There are lots of aspects to a good QB that are impossible to judge without reference to actual gametime.

    But you have to believe he’d have been a monster in the NFL if he went down that route. He could have been one of the greatest wide receivers of all time. He has dominating height and weight, athletiscm, speed and hands.

    And for those people who’d say “he couldn’t take the physicality”…get real. The guy is 250 pounds..that’s monstrous for a receiver. The question is, could an NFL safety take Lebron’s physicality.

    The NBA’s physicality is much different, and athletes adjust to the game they play. Obviously Lebron embellishes contact when driving to the rim (as every basketball player is taught to do), but in the NFL he simply wouldn’t do that, b/c it doesn’t result in any gains.

  22. golfrangeman - May 27, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Kibble’s n bits if you don’t like the site get off it!!!

    • jimeejohnson - May 27, 2013 at 9:24 PM


  23. cantonbound13 - May 27, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    He’d never make it on the field. The NFL has better drug testing.

  24. jtmartinez34 - May 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Going from a 250 lbs mis-match who can’t be nudged without a whistle, to just another 250 lbs guy, he would be smashed. He’s spent his entire life bullying smaller players. Would love to see him go against players his size or bigger and faster. He would quit, like every other time he has faced adversity. Plus, he has duck feet when he walks or runs. I’d love to see his 40 time or see him try to get off a block or make someone miss. These QB comparisons are just as irrelevant as saying he could play forward in hockey or challenge phelps in swimming because he is a big athletic guy. And, please let’s not try to say his sports IQ and will to win differentiate him. He is no Jordan in that department. He would even struggle in the WWF because he can’t put a proper or coherent sentence together.

  25. loungefly74 - May 28, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Theismann’s restaurant in Old Alexandria does have some great food. The Jambalaya was great. They even threw in a free 8×10 autograph pic….still hanging at my cube!

    • badintent - May 29, 2013 at 2:27 AM

      How was the gumbo ? How far is it from Crystal City ?

      • loungefly74 - May 29, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        didn’t try the gumbo. i believe it very close. one of the Metro lines runs right by it.

      • badintent - May 30, 2013 at 1:00 AM

        thanks, I’ll have to try some with my Pentagon commander friend . He has the expense account.

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