BREAKING NEWS: LeBron to play in the NFL From WhatIfSports.com image

BREAKING NEWS: The NFL's LeBron Lottery

LeBron James to resume football career in the NFL
By Ryan Fowler, WhatIfSports.com
April 1st, 2010
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Whatifsports.com has received the following press release from LRMR, LeBron James' marketing group:

LeBron James Press Release

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James has astounded the sports world by revealing his intentions to pursue a football career in the NFL and hopes to be signed by a team prior to the start of the 2010 season.

"It's something that's always been in the back of my mind, and the moment seems right to follow this dream," James told reporters late Wednesday night.

The reigning NBA MVP plans on participating in all football activities until basketball resumes, at which point James will join his NFL team only on game days. Despite this limited availability, organizations across the NFL have already inquired into James' services.

"He's an unbelievable physical specimen, and one would be foolish not to evaluate his possible contributions to a franchise," Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren said in an e-mail to The Plain Dealer.

This announcement comes at an exciting time for James, who this summer can opt out of his Cavs contract and become a free-agent.

Lebron Football How will the NFL affect LeBron's legacy?

- LRMR

Please return your jaws to upright and locked position.

Whatifsports.com is drooling over the dozens of "what-if" scenarios LeBron has created by announcing he will join a NFL team in 2010. The 6-foot-8-inch small forward on the basketball court gives NFL coaches goose bumps at the thought of having LBJ line up at tight end or wide receiver.

With his height giving him an obvious advantage over the majority of the league's defensive backs, we lined up James at wide receiver in our simulations. In order for us to know how much of an impact he would have on various NFL teams we first needed to track down some football statistics to feed our NFL simulation engine.

Whatifsports.com started by contacting Akron St. Vincent St. Mary's athletic department. The Irish's athletic director, Andy Jalwan, was able to dig up LeBron's football stats from his sophomore and junior season. The Irish two-sport standout elected to focus solely on basketball his senior year at Akron SVSM.

"I believe he could play in the NFL," The Plain Dealers' Cavs beat writer Brian Windhorst said. "He has incredible hands and he is so freaking big."

Prior to joining The Plain Dealer, Windhorst wrote for the Akron Beacon Journal. He covered LeBron's early years and had the privilege to witness the witness on the football field.

"As good as his numbers were, he helped out the other wide receivers because defenses would have to double and triple team him," Windhorst said. "He had a ridiculous size advantage on those guys."

Greg Gillum was the wide receivers coach at the University of Akron while LeBron was playing down the road at St. Vincent-St. Mary. He's now the director of football operations for player personnel at Ohio State.

"He was a stand-out athlete at anything he did," Gillum said. "There was nobody that could cover him or keep up wtih him. Even when it came to football, he was one of those once in a lifetime type athletes."

LeBron's High School Football Stats
SeasonReceptionsRec. YardsTouchdowns
Sophomore4275213
Junior57116014
Totals991912 (School Record)27

It doesn't come as a shock LeBron's natural athleticism translated well on the football field. Take a look at the numbers he produced as a 15-year-old varsity wide receiver at St. V's. The "King of the Turf" hauled in 13 touchdowns over the course of a ten game regular season.

"I always had trouble keeping up with him once he got in the open field," Nathan Fox, one of many high school defensive backs who struggled to stop James, said. "I'm actually more interested in when his new Nike cleats come out than what team he plays for."

LeBron set his sights on his alma mater's record books come his junior season. James reset the bar to new heights with his 57-receptions in 2001. He also set the school record with five games of over 100-yards receiving. The longest touchdown of his high school career also came his junior season with a 76-yard house call for six.

Lebron Dunk

Now that Whatifsports.com has acquired LeBron's high school football statistics, we have some numbers to feed our NFL simulation engine.

To take this scenario one step further, we wanted to see how LeBron would fare on NFL teams in markets that also feature a NBA franchise with enough salary cap space to sign him this off-season. Those markets are: New York (Giants/Knicks), Cleveland (Browns/Cavs), Chicago (Bears/Bulls), Boston (Patriots/Celtics) and Dallas (Cowboys/Mavericks).

Jerry Jones can't even concentrate on creating another reality show he's so distracted with the possibility of LBJ joining forces with Tony Romo in Big D.

In order to make room for James on the Cowboys' wide receiver depth chart, we had to cut second option Patrick Crayton. I know fans of Roy Williams are relieved, all five of you.

Whatifsports.com simulated the entire 2009 Cowboys schedule with LeBron in the starting line-up. We've also included a sample box score where James' excelled on the field.

LeBron with the 2009 Cowboys
TeamW/LLeBron YPGTouchdownsLeBron Boxscore
Cowboys12-410111Boxscore

It took about eight games into the season, but Tony Romo and LeBron eventually got on the same page. The Cowboys quarterback focused on delivering the football to Miles Austin and Williams the first half of the season. After LeBron started running stronger routs, Romo and he gelled on the field.

Dallas finished with a strong kick down the stretch to wind up with a 12-4 regular season record. One of LeBron's best games came against Philadelphia. Five catches for 94 yards and a score will get your name in the paper come Monday.

LeBron with the 2009 Bears
TeamW/LLeBron YPGTouchdownsLeBron Boxscore
Bears9-7928Boxscore
Lebron and Joakim

LeBron and Noah need to learn sharing is caring.

As we did with the Cowboys' simulations, we had to cut a member of the Bears' receiving crew to make room for number 23 (no he's not wearing 6 in the NFL). Earl Bennett was the casualty this time around and was released from the team.

Chicago's 2009 win-loss record improved 180-degrees from 7-9 to 9-7 with the addition of James in the line-up. Granted Jay Cutler did have his fair share of mind boggling games where his completion percentage to the opposing team was higher than to his men in black and orange.

LeBron finished the simulated season with eight touchdown receptions courtesy of Cutler. The Bears have been craving more deep threats to open up the passing game in Chicago and with the Bulls wooing LBJ too; this could be the right fit.



LeBron with the 2009 Browns
TeamW/LLeBron YPGTouchdownsLeBron Boxscore
Browns6-10886Boxscore

The crumbling franchise that has been the Browns since their return to Cleveland in 1999 faces another rebuilding year with new management and quarterbacks. I'm sure the Dawg Pound could use a few hammers to construct a stronger pedestal, including the one from Akron.

Granted, we simulated LeBron's 2009 season with Brady Quinn behind center, but the results and stats could improve with Jake Delhomme taking the snaps later this year.

Cleveland was a train wreck when it came to offensive production in 2009, but with James in the line-up (minus Chansi Stuckey) offensive points were scored. Lebron's 88 yards per game average brought back memories of Webster Slaughter and Reggie Langhorne's breakout performances at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

If Cleveland were to lose LeBron James to free agency, fans could bury "The Curse of Colavito" and adapt the "James Jinx" for seasons to come.

LeBron with the 2009 Giants
TeamW/LLeBron YPGTouchdownsLeBron Boxscore
Giants10-6 929Boxscore
Lebron at MSG

LeBron's game rises to a new level inside MSG.

LeBron James to the Knicks rumors have been hovering over NYC for three years now. Knicks' fans young and old bring signs to the games reassuring the rest that their savior will arrive in 2010.

With a questionable running game (yes Brandon I'm talking to you) and Eli Manning searching out a new target to replace Plaxico down field, LeBron may be destined to end up in New York City.

In the 2009 season simulation, LeBron made an immediate impact alongside young receivers Smith, Manningham and Hixon. He averaged 92 yards per game through the air and found the zone nine times. The Giants overall record of 10-6 was a two game improvement on reality's 8-8 regular season.

The only remaining questions are: do Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have any interest in playing football? I'm sure Jay-Z knows the answer.



LeBron with the 2009 Patriots
TeamW/LLeBron YPGTouchdownsLeBron Boxscore
Patriots11-511013Boxscore

A far-fetched, yet still possible, final destination for LeBron come the fall of 2010 is Boston. The Celtics are proving the reciprocal that things get better with age. Their line-up is starting to mirror the cliental at Bob Evan's on a Sunday morning. So, LeBron's youthful exuberance could be a refreshing reset to the proud franchise.

It's with that line of thinking that LeBron's new found passion for the NFL could find him working alongside Tom Brady. Let's face it, sometime Randy Moss gets bored and though the hoodie has done everything in the world to keep Moss grounded, sometimes Randy gets randy and does his own thing. This is where LeBron, with a similar body style, could step in and find his niche within the Pats hyper-pass offense.

Whatifsports.com's 2009 simulation of LBJ with the Pats saw the stat books explode in some games, but to end the season with 13 touchdowns via Mr. Bundchen, LeBron could find a happy marriage with the Patriots and the Celtics.

Lebron at MSG

Bo knows the challenges of playing two sports.

When he is signed by a NFL team, LeBron will join a unique list of elite athletes who managed to play two professional sports at the same time throughout their careers:

"Football is his favorite sport," Windhorst said. "He's the type of athlete that needs to be involved in every play. So, I think he would make the perfect quarterback in the NFL."

Did he just say quarterback?


Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com. Oh, and please note this is an April Fool's article and as far as we know LeBron is a one-sport athlete and is concentrated on winning the NBA Finals this year.

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. Email him at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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