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Olympic-caliber sprinter suddenly on the market

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Two weeks ago, Buffalo Bills receiver T.J. Graham's father told me the athlete who most suggests Graham could be an Olympic-caliber sprinter was Jeff Demps, a member of America's silver-medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team.

That comparison came to mind this afternoon upon reading NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport's story about Demps filing paperwork with the league office to play football.

Demps was a running back for the University of Florida. He went undrafted in April because of his track aspirations. He will be a free agent. Any team, including the Bills, can sign him.

Demps played 51 games for the Gators. He rushed for 2,470 yards (averaging 6.7 yards a carry) and 23 touchdowns. He added 57 receptions and another touchdown. He averaged 28.8 yards per kickoff return and brought one back as a senior.

Demps ran for the U.S. relay team in a preliminary heat, but he didn't run in the finals. He still won a silver medal for his role on the team.

His accomplishments bolstered Trevor Graham's belief that his son would have competed in London had T.J. chosen track instead of football.

"He was in the same class as Jeff Demps," said Trevor Graham, T.J.'s father and former coach to noted Olympians Justin Gatlin, Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones. Demps "got injured this year and didn't do that well, but he would've placed in the top three on the U.S. team in the 100 meters.

"T.J. would have been one of those guys and probably in the top six in the 100 meters had he gone track. But he has been a football guy, and we never pushed track on him that much. If we did, I could see him definitely on the team this year."

Looks like T.J. Graham and Demps are about to have something else in common.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |