Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered LeBron James a contract to play in the NFL

LeBron James was an all-state receiver as a sophomore and junior in high school, and many believed he had the talent to be a professional in the NFL if he wanted to.

“I think LeBron could come in and do better than Antonio Gates,” Randy Moss said of James in 2009.

Well that nearly became a reality in 2011, James revealed in a podcast on Uninterrupted with Paul Rivera and Maverick Carter. He was responding to recent comments made by Doc Rivers, who said James “may have been the greatest football player ever.”

James said he and trainer Mike Mancias began preparing his body for football in 2011 because of the NBA lockout.

“The thoughts came into my mind,” James said. “I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be. And myself and my trainer, Mike Mancias, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to like October and November. We started to clock our times with the 40s. We started to add a little bit more in our bench presses and things of that nature. We started to add more sled into our agenda with our workouts.”

James said Mancias would tease him about working out in Texas to play in Dallas because they’re both Cowboys fans. And team owner Jerry Jones seemed on board with that idea.

“I know he got a contract from Jerry Jones,” Carter said, “that he framed and put in his office.”

Unfortunately, the podcast moves on to the next topic without really diving in to what that contract was. What position would he have played? James played receiver in high school, but his body is built more like a tight end. And in 2011 the Cowboys already had a pair of great tight ends in Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett.

The NBA lockout eventually ended in December, leading to a shortened season that James would dominate. He went on to win the MVP that season as well as the NBA Finals (and Finals MVP). But if the NBA lockout was going to last any longer, we may have seen James try to become an NFL player. Just add this to a list of “what if?” stories in sports.

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