Sports Outside the Beltway

Houstan Texans Look at Sprinter Justin Gatlin

Leaving no stone unturned in looking for potential talent, the Houstan Texas are taking a look a sprinter Justin Gatlin.

The Houston Texans worked out the world’s fastest man, Justin Gatlin, on Tuesday but that doesn’t mean he’s making a fast entrance into the NFL. The Texans didn’t make a big deal out of the Tuesday visit. They looked at Gatlin like they did with two other receivers — Kevin McMahan of Maine and Jovan Witherspoon of Central Michigan. NFL teams usually bring in players for Tuesday workouts while the 53 players on the regular roster take a day off.

The only difference in this workout was the name recognition of Gatlin, the 100-meter gold medal winner in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Gatlin holds the world record for running the 100 meters in 9.76 seconds. In April, he tested positive for the banned substance testosterone and accepted an eight-year ban from track and field.

Though the Texans wouldn’t be willing to sign him for this season, they are one of the first NFL teams to look at him for future contracts, which teams can start signing in late December.

The reason for the slow reaction by NFL teams to Gatlin’s availability is his lack of football experience. At the University of Tennessee he ran track instead of playing football. He hadn’t played football since 10th grade.

That’s likely to be a problem. That he’s a dirty cheater apparently is not. Still, they say you can’t coach speed.

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