Several football stars have been attracted to the sport of rugby.
Most notably, Nate Ebner will represent the U.S. in Rio after helping the New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX over the Seattle Seahawks.
Maurice Clarett, a former Ohio State running back, and Ahman Green, a former Green Bay Packers running back, have also stepped on the rugby pitch.
Even Tim Tebow received a personal invitation from then USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville in 2013:
NBCOlympics.com asked several U.S. rugby players which athlete from another sport they would like to see on the rugby pitch.
Madison Hughes: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
Hughes, a diehard fan of the Patriots, would draft Gronkowski.
The 6-foot-6 Gronkowski would “wreak havoc on the rugby pitch,” according to Hughes.
“If you are playing the Patriots, you think you would do everything you can to stop him, and yet he still overcomes that,” Hughes said. “He’s too big, too strong and too fast.”
Carlin Isles: Sprinters Trayvon Bromell, Justin Gatlin or Mike Rodgers
Isles, who is considered the fastest man in rugby, was a professional sprinter before he discovered rugby.
He would like to see sprinters Bromell, Gatlin or Rodgers join him on the rugby pitch.
“With their speed,” Isles said, “it’d be sweet.”
Zack Test: New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner
Test went with a safe pick, choosing Ebner, his U.S. rugby teammate. Ebner is taking a leave from offseason football workouts to play for USA Rugby.
Alev Kelter: Hockey players Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux
Kelter grew up playing ice hockey, and even captained the U.S. women’s ice hockey team to the gold medal at the 2009 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship.
She therefore picked the Lamoureux twins, who both helped the U.S. win silver ice hockey medals at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
“They are dynamic duo who just kill it,” Kelter said. “Maybe one day they’ll give it a try and they can do the Winter and the Summer Olympics.”