Opinions: LeBron in the NFL: Where to?

Michael Moses, Nick Shook

*This is a point-counterpoint column by Michael Moses and Nick Shook.

Michael Moses:

Calvin Johnson and LeBron James. Same team. Lob it up on either side of the field. Game. Set. Match. Super Bowl champions.

If the NBA season is in fact cancelled, LeBron James should highly consider pulling a Bo Jackson and joining an NFL squad. He’s the world’s best athlete and deserves to join forces with the best wide receiver in the NFL (sounds familiar, right?). This time, it’s not going to be Dwyane Wade, but Calvin Johnson.

The Detroit Lions are taking the NFL by storm and throwing the ball all over teams. They have one of the NFL’s most promising young stars in quarterback Matthew Stafford to toss the ball up to Johnson, who set an NFL record last week when he scored his ninth touchdown in five games. Can you imagine if he had LeBron in addition to Johnson?

Johnson is listed at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. LeBron, a former all-state wide receiver, is 6-foot-8, 260 pounds. LeBron is such a big, physical player on that court. He’d be able to transition to the gridiron with his body type alone. In a Sports Illustrated poll last year, LeBron was voted the league’s fastest player. Mix this with height (he’d be the tallest WR in the NFL) and a ridiculous vertical jump (upper 40 inches), and you’re looking at the scariest receiving threat in the league.

It would be flat-out unfair for opposing defenses to go up against this tandem. Forget all of the other teams in the league (even though a combo of Mike Wallace and LeBron would boost my Steelers), the best fit for LeBron is Detroit. The Lions are on the rise, the feel-good story of the NFL. The city of Detroit is a football town again. If LeBron James threw on the blue and silver, they’d be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

LeBron already joined forces and made Batman and Robin; why shouldn’t he take his talents to the Motor City and join Megatron?

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].

Nick Shook

Imagine this: six feet, eight inches and 260 pounds of pure muscle moving gracefully across the painted white lines on a lush, Kentucky Bluegrass field. That’s right, imagine LeBron James running a post route and leaping higher than Larry Fitzgerald to reel in a pass from none other than Colt McCoy.

Colt McCoy?

Yes, the Cleveland Browns quarterback. James has recently toyed with the idea of signing with an NFL team while the NBA lockout drags on. James, who was an all-state wide receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, would have likely been offered a football scholarship by any of the top programs in the nation, had he not been even better at basketball.

James holds many of the receiving records at St. V-M, and he didn’t even play his senior season. He has the prototypical body of an All-Pro wide receiver, and no team has a bigger need at wide receiver than the Cleveland Browns. But would the city take him back after he left them scorned at the altar, bouquet in hand, while he ran off with his sexier girlfriend in the Miami Heat?

Some Cleveland fans would have a tough time accepting James back into the fold of Cleveland sports. In fact, when a story that James had practiced in full pads with his alma mater’s varsity football team, a local news outlet’s story drew comments such as “who let him back into Ohio,” and “I hope he tore an Achilles.” How could such a malicious fan base welcome him back to Cleveland?

It’s quite simple, actually. While the probability of James actually signing with any NFL team is slim to none (I firmly believe that this is just a ploy to keep his name on the front page amidst a long and painful lockout), there would be no better fit than in Cleveland. The Browns desperately need a No. 1 wide receiver for McCoy to target 10 times or more per game.

James could repair the bridges that were once burned by simply apologizing and signing with the Browns, and maybe even following the path of his State Farm commercial (dominating offensively and on special teams, leading the Browns to a Super Bowl). Cleveland would quickly forget his departure from the Cavaliers and snatch up #19 James jerseys by the truckload (19, because he wore 9 in high school, and the NFL doesn’t allow single-digit numbers for wide receivers). If James helped the Browns to 10 or 11 wins, he would go down in history as the single best free agent acquisition (think the opposite of Andre Rison) in team history.

So I say to you, LeBron, as a fellow St. V-M alum, if you want to sign with an NFL team and are actually serious about it (injury risks and all), sign with the Browns. Not only will you win back the hearts of those that loved you so dearly, but you could also bring new hope and excitement to a team and a city that hasn’t won a title since 1964. Forget the Cowboys, and don’t listen to Pete Carroll — your NFL future is in Cleveland.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].