Suspended Gatlin bids for future in NFL

Suspended Gatlin bids for future in NFL

Olympic sprint champion Justin Gatlin is continuing to explore a career in the NFL while he awaits an arbitration hearing on his positive drugs test.

Gatlin, who shares the 100 metres world record with Jamaican Asafa Powell, worked out for the Arizona Cardinals last week, the Arizona Republic newspaper said.

The world 100 and 200 metres champion has also tried out with several other NFL teams including the Houston Texans, Houston coach Gary Kubiak said.

Gatlin has not played American football since he was a teenager but the 24-year-old is looking at the sport again after testing positive for the male sex hormone testosterone at the Kansas Relays in April.

He faces a ban of up to eight years from track and field unless an arbitration panel decides otherwise next year. Gatlin remains eligible to try out with NFL teams and hopes to catch the eye as a wide receiver.

"A lot of teams in the league have worked him out over the course of the past month," Kubiak, the Texans coach, told the Houston Chronicle.

"From (general manager) Rick (Smith) and I's perspective, he was very impressive."

NFL analyst Gil Brandt told Reuters in a telephone interview that there was a possibility Gatlin would make the grade.

"You can teach catching, you can teach running routes, but you can't teach speed," said Brandt, a former Dallas Cowboys vice president for player personnel whose team once had a Super Bowl squad that included five players with no experience.

"But I don't think anybody will sign him now unless they are out of the play-offs race because you would have to put him on your 53-man active roster," Brandt added.

Brandt also said his speed advantage might not be as great as some might expect. "We've got a lot of guys playing cornerback that run (40 yards in) 4.4 or 4.35 seconds. There are not many slow guys anymore," the NFL expert said.

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