Johnson said he is not joking.
“I feel like if I would have kept training for track I’d have a chance, but I play football and he runs track, so it’s totally different,” Johnson told the Tennessean. “I think I could still probably beat him in the 40. If I actually trained for the distance he trained for, I think I’d have a chance.”
Johnson said he meant no disrespect to Bolt. Indeed, he admires the Jamaican who last week became the first man to win the 100-meter gold medal in consecutive Olympics.
“He is a great athlete,” Johnson told the newspaper. “I think he’ll be the best track athlete to ever compete in the Olympics.”
After setting world records in the 100 and 200 meters at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, Bolt broke his Olympic mark in the 100 by running 9.63 seconds in London. Bolt is also the world-record holder (9.58).
Johnson was no joke as a track star. He was a high school speedster in Orlando and clocked at 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2008. It still stands as the fastest time ever at the combine.
Meanwhile, Bolt seems more concerned with launching a second career. He told a British newspaper earlier this week that he’d like to play for soccer giant Manchester United.
“People think I am joking, but if Alex Ferguson called me up and said, ‘OK let’s do this, come and have a trial,’ it would be impossible for me to say no,” Bolt told the Sun on Monday. “I would not take up the challenge if I didn’t think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference.”