You may recall the story of hoopster-turned footballer George Fant working out for the Bengals recently.
He's not the only hardwood star looking for a shot on the gridiron. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, former Xavier basketball star Remy Abell is working out Friday for Cincinnati as he looks to culminate a long basketball journey with a shot at pro football.
When I first heard the name Abell, I flashed back to the 2012 South Regional Semifinal where hardwood powerhouses Kentucky and Indiana faced off in the NCAA Tournament. While the eventual-champion Cats won, a little-known freshman forward named Abell scored six points in the 102-90 loss.
It was with a bit of irony that the former Eastern High School (KY) star was now facing the home-state Cats as a member of one of their fiercest rivals. Even as a freshman, you could already see a physically-imposing player who had the look of a college receiver or defensive back.
Fast forward to today: After transferring from IU to Xavier and finishing his career with the Musketeers this past season, Abell opted to pass on the NBA draft and instead is pursuing a shot with an NFL team.
"It’s crazy," Abell said via the Enquirer. "I’m trying to write my own story, and this is something different. When I told my family, they were like, ‘Go for it.’ Obviously, they knew I loved football. Football really was my first love."
Abell's workout for the Bengals came because of Ignition Athletic Performance Group, where former Bengals strength coach Clif Marshall (who still works with the team during the offseason) has been training the 6'4", 195-pound specimen for an NFL shot.
"When it came to the vertical, the speed, the agility, the quickness, he was always at the top of the charts. So that’s kind of where the conversation started for Remy and I. We continued to talk about a potential NFL workout after his career at Xavier," Marshall said.
For now, Marshall is training Abell as if he'll play wide receiver in the pros.
"We’ve really focused in on the route running and the specifics of that, like how to separate, how to accelerate out of your breaks and how to plant off your outside foot," Marshall said. "There are things like that that we’ve had to spend a little bit more time doing because it’s different than being on the basketball court."
Abell's love for football took a backseat in college as his mom wanted him to focus on academics, not to mention Abell saw a better shot at a long career in basketball than football. Even if the NFL doesn't work out, Abell is good enough to play in a pro basketball league either in America or overseas.
"I’m definitely fully committed to basketball," Abell said. "God has opened a door for me to have the opportunity to have a tryout for football but if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll have basketball right there."
NFL teams are often giving guys like Abell at least a tryout, if not a training camp invite to see if they can translate their basketball skills to a football field. Hopefully, Abell gets to do what he feels he has the best shot at making a career out of.