ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tyreek Hill is a five-time All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl champion.
The speedy Miami Dolphins receiver likes the idea of also having a chance to go for Olympic gold when the fast-growing sport of flag football debuts at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles, a sentiment echoed by other Miami Dolphins stars. the NFL, including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. .
Hill, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Raheem Mostert, Detroit Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram are among the players representing the AFC and NFC in the Pro Bowl Games, which conclude Sunday with a seven-on-seven flag display that will offer fans and a national television audience a glimpse of what the sport could look like with a talented so highly qualified in the field.
“That’s going to be really exciting,” Tagovailoa said, adding that he played football when he was 5 or 6 years old and is looking forward to seeing the makeup of Team USA’s roster in four years.
Flag football is one of five sports added to the Olympic program by 2028.
The NFL, which continues to expand its global brand, has expressed its willingness to work with the NFL Players Association, USA Football, the International Federation of American Football and the International Olympic Committee regarding the prospect of current and former players participate in Los Angeles.
“Those conversations about eligibility and process have begun,” league executive Peter O’Reilly said.
“Obviously, (there is) a little bit of time, and there are a lot of big global flag football competitions coming up in the next few years that may be less on people’s radars: world championships, world games… but there are important things which we must work on. , and we will continue to do so,” O’Reilly added.
This is the second year that Pro Bowl week festivities have culminated with a non-contact flag game that replaced the event’s traditional tackle display.
The NFL has helped spur the growth of flag football for boys and girls around the world, in part by hosting clinics, camps and competitions, while also supporting the creation of college scholarships.
Boys and girls youth teams from Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the NFL International Flag Championship during the Pro Bowl. Games.
Canada, which won the NFL International Flag Division last year, made the trip to face the U.S. flag teams in the NFL National Flag Championship event.
Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who coaches the NFC in Sunday’s flag game at Camping World Stadium, supports the idea of NFL players participating in the Olympics.
“I think it’s great. The fact that they have an impact on that and the growth of the game of flag football,” Manning said.
“You see a lot of younger kids playing flag football. In many ways, this is how they are introduced to football. They are big fans, understand that,” added the two-time Super Bowl champion. “Even a lot of the players who are here now grew up playing flag football or versions of it. … It’s a game in itself.”
Older brother Peyton Manning, a Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl winner and AFC coach, is also excited about the growth of the fast-paced sport.
“I’m excited about flag football and the Olympics,” Peyton Manning said. “I heard Tyreek say that he would like to make it happen, so it would be (tough) competition for people trying to compete” for roster spots.
Hill and Mahomes are among the biggest names who have expressed interest in possibly playing for Team USA.
Mostert said he has never played organized flag football, but he is looking forward to Sunday’s game between the two NFL conferences.
“Obviously, flag football is a great sport. “Everyone is really on the same page about this,” Mostert said.
“I think he contributes a lot to football itself. “It’s definitely a safer, less contact version of the game, and it allows other countries to get to know the game or even find great talent in their country and within their lines playing this great sport,” Engram said. “The Olympics have been the highest pinnacle of competition, so to add football to that is really cool.”
Count St. Brown among those who grew up playing flag football. He has thought about the possibility of playing in the Olympic Games but has not decided if it is for him.
“I do not know yet. …But maybe when I retire. Right now, I could get hurt, whatever the case may be,” St. Brown said. “When I’m done playing and shooting, I’d love to go out and do something.”
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