Two of the best tight ends in the history of professional football, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates, played college basketball before moving on to the NFL.
The same goes for New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who played four seasons of basketball at Miami (and his 5th year on the gridiron for the Hurricanes) and was a Pro Bowl selection last year.
The Oakland Raiders hope that Andre Hardy can prove to be productive in making the transition, as they signed the former Cal State Fullerton basketball player on Thursday.
Hardy, who began his collegiate career at Oral Roberts, played in just 16 games this season and averaged 4.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
With the Titans being able to call on transfer Omondi Amoke in the front court Hardy’s opportunities decreased after averaging 10.6 points and 8.5 rebounds and being named Big West Newcomer of the Year in 2010-11.
Hardy left the team in mid-January but continued to attend classes.
At 6-5, 250 pounds the San Diego native has the size required of an NFL tight end. The question now is whether or not his basketball skills translate onto the football field.
For the Raiders it’s a small risk but one they hope pays off in a big way down the line.