In 2012, Rajon Rondo told Boston reporters that he could’ve been an NFL quarterback if he’d focused on a football career, instead of playing basketball. Although it always generates skepticism when a player from one sport claims that he would’ve reached the elite level of another, Rondo impressed one NFL signal-caller – New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees – in less than a handful of throws Thursday.
While tossing the football around in the Saints’ practice facility in Metairie, Rondo wowed onlookers with an extremely accurate throw, even though he barely had time to warm up.
“Every time we leave the field (following Saints practice) we usually pick a target and throw at it and it is just one throw to see if you can hit it and it was about a 50-, 55-yard throw,” Brees explained. “The objective was there was a training table out there where a guy would get his ankles taped and it has a black pad on the top and so we just try to throw it and hit the top of the pad. I threw and hit the pad, someone else threw and they got close and the other person got close and then Rondo steps up and I am telling you he had thrown like three practice throws, maybe like 10 yards (each) and I am thinking he is not going to get within 20 yards of this thing and just flicks one out there and kind of hits the back of the pad and the trash can behind the pad and hits the pad, hits the trash can and then hops up on the pad and it rests on the pad. We’ve been doing this for 12 years and that has never happened and the dude comes out on his first throw and does it.”
According to SI.com, Rondo wanted to be a football player as a youngster, but his mother helped steer him away from the game. Former Boston coach Doc Rivers once referred to Rondo as “the Tom Brady of the Celtics,” to which Rondo responded, “I don’t know about Tom Brady, but point guard, quarterback are pretty much the same thing.”
From briefly watching Rondo throw, Brees seemed to sense that Rondo had some previous experience on the gridiron.
“Pretty impressive and he was just out there today catching balls off the jug machine one-handed and he threw gloves on and was catching punts,” Brees said. “He seems like he is a gym rat and he is extremely talented. You can tell he was probably one of those multi-sport athletes, probably played QB in high school running the show. He is a great athlete.”