Marvin Bracy spent last summer chasing Usain Bolt in Rio de Janeiro.
Now the former track star has finally beaten Bolt _ to the football field.
One day after signing with the Indianapolis Colts, the U.S. Olympic sprinter turned NFL hopeful walked onto the practice field at the team complex and starting taking his licks for the first time in years.
“I’ve been working hard and I’ve dedicated myself to this,” Bracy said. “I’m not just a speed guy. I make cuts and I can run routes.”
Clearly, Bracy has enough speed to stretch the field, which explains why the Carolina Panthers gave him a tryout during rookie minicamp.
Indy intrigued enough to give him a preseason roster spot after another receiver, Harvey Binford, went down with an injury. Bracy also took Binford’s No. 2 jersey.
The biggest questions, of course, are whether the 5-foot-9, 172-pound Bracy can catch passes and withstand the punishment of NFL hits?
Some international track stars, like Bob Hayes and Willie Gault, have been successful in the NFL. Many others struggled to make it or failed completely.
Bracy does have a football background.
As a high school football All-American, he received scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. He wound up choosing Florida State, where he redshirted in 2012 before opting for a professional track career that included three consecutive U.S. national titles in the indoor 60-meter dash and finished 11th in the 100 at last year’s Olympics.
In September, Bolt acknowledged there NFL teams had shown interest in giving him a shot. But he never seriously contemplated playing football before recently retiring from track.
Bracy, meanwhile, is still running hard _ this time trying to earn one of 53 roster spots in Indianapolis.
"I walked away from a great career to pursue another dream,” Bracy said.