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June 27, 2022

From football to tennis: How did NFL star Bryant McKinnie make the switch?

When it comes to popular sports around the world, you don’t get much bigger than tennis and football. Tennis is a true year-round sport which includes high-profile events such as the US Open and Wimbledon. In addition, it has a host of elite-level athletes competing on the pro circuit who provide exciting action for fans to enjoy.

Football is also a sport with many fans and a lot to offer. The NFL plays host to some of the biggest franchises around and has superstar names of its own who put on a real show for supporters each game. NFL betting apps also make it easy to add more fun to football games by backing one team to win, wherever you are at the time.

Although these are two major sports which attract plenty of attention, you don’t usually see players taking an interest in both. Former NFL star Bryant McKinnie is the exception to this – but how did he do it?

McKinnie’s NFL origins pave the way

McKinnie started out his sporting career by playing for the University of Miami college football team. A talented offensive tackle, he was soon garnering attention from pro NFL teams and was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2002 Draft.

His initial spell with the team was very successful, and he played every game from 2003 to 2007. During this time, he racked up an impressive run of 80 consecutive games! After this though, injury and illness led to his time in Minnesota turning sour and he was released in 2011.

Convinced that McKinnie still had what it took to excel in the pro game, the Baltimore Ravens NFL team signed him. Although he was injured in his first season with them, he played regularly in their Superbowl winning season in 2012/13. Despite this, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2013 before finishing his pro football career.

McKinnie’s love for tennis starts to blossom

Although Bryant McKinnie is not a pro tennis player, he is someone who loves the sport by all accounts and one of a number of sportspeople who might have carved out a pro tennis career. He has also spent a lot of time on court practicing in his spare time over the years. It seems this all started when he was still an NFL player around 2011.

McKinnie is reported to have said this when he spoke with one of the famous William’s sisters in tennis, Venus Williams. This conversation sparked his interest in the game and led to him taking lessons from Williams herself. In addition to practicing on his own time, McKinnie also began to play regularly at the mini tournament organized by Williams for her friends each year.

Over time, it seems he has improved his game and is now much better than he was. Along with playing tennis, it seems McKinnie is an avid spectator and has even appeared courtside to watch Williams play in events such as the US Open.

Do the skills needed in the NFL help in tennis?

If we are being totally honest, the physique of Bryant McKinnie is not that of a classic tennis player. His sheer size has caused many to wonder how agile he could be around court and how quick he could be to the net. However, this does not mean he can’t simply enjoy playing the game or that there are no skills from his NFL days which might come in handy.

NFL players do need decent acceleration off the mark for example and an ability to react quickly to what is happening around them. These are naturally also skills which are required when playing tennis. In addition, the discipline and work ethic McKinnie developed while playing in the NFL will make it easier for him to improve his game through sheer effort.

Bryant McKinnie – From NFL to the tennis court

As the above shows, former NFL superstar Bryant McKinnie has managed to make the switch from football to tennis pretty smoothly. When you have Venus Williams guiding you along the way though, you already have a great head start! The power he has in a blistering forehand and the height advantage he brings to the court are also features which any player would find useful.

By all accounts, McKinnie is a very good tennis player and seems set to continue being involved with the game for years to come. This seems to indicate that at least some pro sportspeople are born with a natural flair for whatever they decide to play and bring a winning mentality to any activity they take up.

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