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The Indianapolis Colts sign Olympic sprinter Marvin Bracy. He participated with USA Track & Field for the last five years (2013-17).
Clark Wade/IndyStar

INDIANAPOLIS — In the five years, seven months and three days since he last played a football game, Marvin Bracy’s quit two college teams. He’s signed a six-figure endorsement deal with adidas, become the fastest 60-meter sprinter in the country and worn the letters USA across his chest in the Olympic Games. He’s won three national titles and a silver medal at the world championships. He’s raced Usain Bolt in Rio.

He’s seen how far his legs can take him: All over the world.

Still, the thought always hung around, crammed into the back of his mind, that what-if he couldn’t shake. Football was the itch Marvin Bracy needed to scratch, even after five long years away from the game. It’s what landed him here, at the Indianapolis Colts’ West 56th Street complex on Tuesday, slipping on shoulder pads and a helmet, chasing an improbable but not impossible goal.

The track star wants to play in the NFL.

“It’s always been in my mind that I was a football guy,” Bracy said.

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His résumé speaks to a different reality. Bracy was formerly one of the United States’ most promising young sprinters, a high school phenom with the rarest of opportunities – money waiting for him the minute he turned pro. Bracy instead ventured to Florida State, where in his mind he’d star on the football field in the fall and the track in the spring.

It didn’t work out that way. Not a year later, he’d quit both teams.

“I had a bunch of disagreements with the coaching staffs on both ends,” he explained. “You come in as a top sprinter, they don’t want football to put weight on…