Fresh off a silver medal in London, Jeff Demps wants to come back home to football.
The former Gator football and track star has filed paperwork with the NFL and wants to start playing this season, according to NFL.com.
April’s draft came and went, and Demps’ name was never called after telling teams he would be a full-time track athlete. However, Demps has signed a standard representation agreement for football with the goal of playing in the 2012 season, a souce close to Demps said Tuesday.
It isn’t the best timing for Demps as he enters the market as an unrestricted free agent midway through training camp. Still, the 5-foot-7, 190-pounder showcased his world-class speed while helping the United States win silver in the 4×100-meter relay. Many teams are expected to be interested in adding his breakway ability to their rosters. Demps has retained football agent Daniel Rose of Gridiron Sports, and they are now setting up workouts.
Rose confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that the Buccaneers have made their interest known, but would not comment on other potential suitors. PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds has reported that sources told the site that the Bucs are seriously interested in adding Demps to improve the team’s speed and playmaking ability on offense and special teams. More specifically, the sources said Tampa Bay is interested in using him as a slot receiver and a running back on offense, and as a kick returner on special teams.
According to Reynolds, the Bucs have had their eyes on Demps for a while. He says they were close to signing Demps after he failed to qualify for the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but he was named to the 4×100 meter relay team after Mike Rodgers suffered a stress fracture in July.
Philadelphia could also be a possible destination. CSNPhilly.com reported that a team official said the Eagles were intrigued with Demps and wouldn’t rule out giving Demps a look, but also said it was unlikely that they’d sign him.
While at Florida, Demps became the only Gator athlete to win national championships in two sports. On the track, he won NCAA championships in the 60-meter dash indoors and the 100-meter dash outdoors. On the football field, he rushed for a total of 2,470 yards, averaging a blistering 6.8 yards per carry over his four seasons, while scoring 23 touchdowns.
He was also a dangerous kickoff returner, averaging 28.8 yards per return. He helped the Gators to their third national championship as a freshman in 2008, running it 78 times for 605 yards and 7 touchdowns.