Can LeBron James Really Play in the NFL?

Michael CastilloContributor IJanuary 21, 2009

He's 6'8" and weighs in at over 250 pounds. He's an absolute freak on the hardwood, but can Cleveland's prodigal son LeBron James truly suit up for the city's Browns?

In a current television advertising campaign for insurance firm State Farm, James dreams of glory as a member of the Browns. By blocking field goals and catching passes à la Ozzie Newsome, LeBron's presence in the NFL is creatively envisioned as an actual possibility.

With the Browns struggling, and given their new coaching hire of Eric Mangini, the fans of Cleveland are open for any spark that could actually lead the team to their elusive first Super Bowl appearance.

James theoretically could fill the void in the Browns offense, becoming a play-maker that they currently lack. Despite having a decent receiving corps of wideouts—Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, and Kellen Winslow, Jr.—I wouldn't doubt for one minute that Brady Quinn could resist the opportunity to toss up fade routes to the NBA superstar.

Although James has stayed rather quiet on the issue, fellow superstar Kobe Bryant declared himself fit for the NFL after this weekend's championship game between his Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals.

“I’d be a wide receiver,” said the 6'6", 205-pound Kobe Bryant. “I’d be a bad (man) too. No more red zone issue,” he explained. “Just throw it over the top. I’m (Randy) Mossin’ it.”

Link: KNBC Los Angeles

Kobe's outlandish plans at a gig on the gridiron and LeBron's commercial could possibly pave the way for the Cleveland forward to think about making the jump.

For someone who will always be compared to Air Jordan, it would be quite fitting for James to jump sports. Michael Jordan's run with the White Sox after his father's death was ill-fated, but it just added to his legacy as a basketball player. Should LeBron follow in his steps, his voyage to football would be serious, considering he was selected as an All-State wide receiver in high school as a sophomore in Ohio.

His size and strength are NFL-ready, and given the fact that his competitiveness rivals only his elite contemporaries, James would certainly fit.

Adding support to the aforementioned Winslow at tight end, and enabling Brady Quinn to ease into his role as signal caller, James’ role in the Cleveland offense would give them a versatile attack.

Given his dunking abilities in the air, James surely would become a red zone target just as Kobe Bryant wishes he were. LeBron could be used as a decoy on runs and a swing man on passing plays, letting smaller receivers like Joe Jurevicius get open to catch and run.

The opportunities would be virtually endless with James lined up for the Cleveland Browns, and for a team that ranked 31st in offense in 2008, they must be open to any suggestions.

This blog is part of The Sporting Globe.