NEW YORK — If Tyreek Hill and other NFL players want to switch to flag football for a summer and compete in the Olympics, the possibility is becoming more real.
NFL executive Peter O’Reilly said Tuesday the league will work with the players’ union on allowing current and former players to participate after flag football was among five sports officially added to the 2028 Los Angeles Games by the International Olympic Committee.
“It is the pinnacle of sport globally,” O’Reilly said at the league meetings. “Ultimately, that decision on the makeup of Team USA is a decision of USA Football and the national governing body or the governing bodies around the world in similar roles because we are thinking about Team USA, but there are also a lot of other passports in the NFL — 113 foreign-born players on NFL rosters as of Week 5.
“So, that opportunity for athletes to represent their countries, we understand the desire, what they have spoken out about and what we will continue to do is work with the players, (NFL) Players Association and the clubs in the time ahead to determine the process and then work with USA Football and IFAF on that.”
Hill, the Miami Dolphins’ All-Pro wide receiver, expressed his interest after the official announcement, asking fellow NFL players to “bring one home” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“You know how amazing it would be to assemble a super team to play in the Olympics,” Hill later said on his podcast.
The NFL has worked hard to promote flag football and pushed for its inclusion in the Olympics. Last year, the league turned its annual Pro Bowl into a weeklong series of competitions culminating with the AFC-NFC all-stars playing flag football.
“We’re committed to growing flag football around the world,” O’Reilly said. “The Olympic decision accelerates that. We do see it as a long-term commitment as we move forward. And it’s not just about 2028 and that July, it’s about the next four years and how we, our clubs, IFAF take advantage of that opportunity to really grow this game, allow more girls and boys around the world to get a ball in their hands, get a flag belt on, and grow what we’re doing.”
Copyright The Associated Press 2023
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