Olympic sprint champion Justin Gatlin trained Tuesday with the Houston Texans of the National Football League. But coach Gary Kubiak says the team is not yet prepared to sign the co-world record holder in the 100 meters.
Gatlin tested positive for testosterone and other steroids in April. He received an eight-year ban from athletics by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, although he can appeal the length of his punishment. While his Olympic medals are not affected, Gatlin is likely to lose his share of the world record.
Kubiak said he is not worried about the steroids issue because the NFL is allowing Gatlin to train with teams. Gatlin last played American-style football in high school and trained as a receiver with the Texans.
Olympic runners have played in the NFL before. Gatlin's agent is Renaldo Nehemiah, a former world-record hurdler who played three NFL seasons as a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. A former 100-meter record holder, Bob Hayes, played wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s.
Earlier this month, British sprinter Dwain Chambers ran in wide receiver and cornerback tryouts in Cologne, Germany for the National Football League's European-based development league. The former European 100-meter champion was suspended for two years after testing positive for steroids. He returned to competition this year, winning the relay gold with Britain at the European Championship in August.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Bloomberg.