Olympian Jeff Demps is a football player again… how will he fit back into the league?

Jeff Demps, ex-Florida track star, is headed to the NFL… but where? (Associated Press)

As you probably saw on NFL.com, Jeff Demps is headed back to football. The Olympic silver medalist, who contributed to Team U.S.A.’s 4 x 100 relay, filed paperwork with the NFL today.

The ex-Florida Gators running back will likely meet with teams soon and make his decision about where to play. Remember, because he wasn’t drafted, he’s an unrestricted free agent. Nohemy Baltodano is his track agent, and she’ll be doing his NFL marketing. For his contract, Demps has retained agent Daniel Rose of Gridiron Sports.

How will Demps be used in the league?

Well, at Florida, he played running back. He didn’t look like most of them, but the 5-foot-7, 190-pounder fit the mold of a lot of guys the Gators used in their spread look. Short, shifty, lithe, and insanely fast. Like Chris Rainey, now of the Steelers, or Percy Harvin, now of the Vikings.

In the NFL, Demps likely won’t be a true running back. But who cares? Whoever signs him will simply work to get him in space, either out of the backfield or using him as a slot receiver or employing him as a kick returner. Kinda like the Chiefs want to use Dexter McCluster, only Demps is much faster (as he did win two national sprint titles in college).

When I was at Lake Tahoe for that golf tournament last month, I asked ex-Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith about Demps. Figuring the two Florida alums kept track of one another, I wondered if Smith had an opinion. Boy did he.

Can Demps be a running back in the NFL?

He has the speed, he can be a skill back,” Smith told me. “If he can run routes out of the backfield, become a third-down back, he can be very impressive. He can run draws, reverses and so forth. He can create a lot of havoc on the football field just by his speed alone. And that in itself can give any team, any offense, an additional weapon.

Then, Smith’s mind began to wander.

Especially if… let’s just say for the Cowboys, for example,” Smith said, using a hypothetical. “If he played for the Cowboys — not to say that we need him… But at the end of the day, if you got Dez (Bryant) out there, then you got Miles Austin and you have the other guys, Kevin Ogletree is still there, and so you add those players along with Jason Witten. Now, take Ogletree out, take Witten out and put a fourth guy like Demps in, it’s a different kinda game. And you got DeMarco Murray in the backfield along with Felix Jones. And teams are diming you. You can do what you want to do. So, adding in a guy like Jeff Demps, it’s all about the creativity of the offensive coordinator.

Essentially, Demps brings a whole other level of things teams can do offensively. Should be fun to watch.

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