Eagles wooing Gatlin

It was only a matter of time. Former University of Tennessee and Olympic sprint standout Justin Gatlin – quite possibly the world's fastest man – is getting feelers about trying professional football.

An Associated Press story posted on the SportingNews.com website says Gatlin's agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, has gotten phone messages and e-mails from the Philadelphia Eagles regarding his client's future. Nehemiah said he has no plans to return the calls or the e-mails because "Football isn't a necessity" for Gatlin.

The ex-Vol recently tied the world record with a 9.77 second clocking the 100-meter dash. His time originally was reported as 9.76 but a timing error was discovered.

Nehemiah is no stranger to pro ball, having played four seasons in the NFL during the 1980s following a celebrated track career in the hurdles.

Gatlin hasn't played football since 10th grade, when he reportedly quit the game following a disagreement with his high school coach.

The Eagles reportedly view Gatlin as a potential wide receiver/return specialist. They drafted Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom (who excelled as a receiver/return man at Colorado) in the fifth round of the recent NFL Draft but apparently are in love with Gatlin's blazing speed.

Gatlin was questioned about playing football during his UT days but never gave it serious thought. Still, the lure of a multi-million dollar pro contract could get his attention … if the Eagles can get Nehemiah to return their calls.


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