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'Next Play He Went And Suplexed The Guy' - Recalling Brock Lesnar's All Too Brief NFL Career

'Next Play He Went And Suplexed The Guy' - Recalling Brock Lesnar's All Too Brief NFL Career
By John Balfe Updated

Brock Lesnar is big business. The genetic lottery gifted him with an Adonis-like physique. This, along with his unusual charisma, allowed the 6' 3", 280lb behemouth to segue from  a hugely successful collegiate wrestling career to the world of sports entertainment without missing a step. There he became the youngest ever WWE World Champion shortly after debuting for the company.

Of course, he wasn't fighting for real (though the injuries he sustained were very much so) and even with his record-breaking accomplishments in the world of professional wrestling, Brock Lesnar wasn't satisfied.

Before his transition to MMA, a book which had its latest chapter written just last weekend against Mark Hunt, Lesnar tried a different avenue in an attempt to scratch his competetive itch -- he tried out for the Minnesota Vikings.

The NFL is a notoriously difficult nut to crack, even for players who've got a successful college career and a Heisman Trophy under their belts. Lesnar had neither. In fact, he hadn't played football since high school. But what he did have was one-in-a-million freak athleticism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXGyyR1FjvE

Lesnar's NFL combine numbers were solid, particularly for a man of his size who was aiming to become a defensive tackle. He did the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds (the league average for his position is 5.3 seconds), a vertical jump of 35 inches and standing long jump of 10 feet and a bench press 225lbs with 30 reps.

Now, when you compare those numbers to J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans, arguably the best defensive player in the league at the moment, the figures are virtually indistinguishable. Brock Lesnar has freak athleticism, the type that could be transferred to practically any physical sport if given enough time to let it bed in. Time, however, was the one thing that Lesnar didn't have on his side.

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Lesnar signed up for the Minnesota Vikings as defensive tackle and competed for them in pre-season before being cut from the squad ahead of the regular season -- though even appearing in practice games for the Vikings against NFL opposition was a massive accomplishment for someone who last played competitive football in the company of 12-year-olds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bVT1lVPEUA

And he left a mark on the field too. As former Viking Nate Burleson recalls, Lesnar didn't take too kindly to an opponent who cheap-shotted his quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

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As Burleson explains:

You remember Brock Lesnar, WWE? He came out, and somebody cheap-shotted Daunte Culpepper late, and Brock was like “who did it?” The next play he went and suplexed the guy. Different type of nasty, but he picked up a grown man after the play, it was a royal rumble, Minnesota versus Kansas City in Mankato during training camp. That was a nasty suplex on the football field.

Lesnar clearly had the natural abilities and a nose hard enough to mix it up with fellow giants on a regular basis, so why didn't he make the cut? It was partly due to his body being riddled with injuries sustained from his time in the WWE ring and  a few that he picked up a new knocks during his time representing the Vikings.

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The biggest limitation for Lesnar was his lack of game time. He was always playing catch-up when compared to the other names listed in the draft that year. He proved in the UFC that he had the natural abilities to win the Heavyweight title in just his fourth professional fight but the overwhelming, brute-force he displayed in the Octagon wasn't necessarily transferable to the football field.

What we can say though, with a high level of confidence, is that if he had decided in his teens that he wanted to pursue football there is a very real chance that Brock Lesnar would be wearing a Superbowl ring around his finger right now.

We suppose he'll just have to settle for the two NCAA Division I wrestling titles, the honour of being the youngest WWE Heavyweight champion and winning the UFC strap in just his third bout for the company.

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