Bills Sign U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Surprise Roster Move

Gable Steveson

Getty Gable Steveson celebrates after a victory at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Buffalo Bills are giving wrestling champion Gable Steveson a chance to go from the Olympics to the NFL.

The team announced on May 31 that they signed the former wrestling champion, who got interest from several NFL teams after his release from the WWE. Though he had not played football before, Steveson will have the chance to make the Bills as a defensive lineman.

The Bills announced that they released punter Matt Haack in a corresponding roster move.

Bills Land Heavyweight

The Bills had hosted Steveson for a tryout on May 15, with reporter Ryan Talbot noting that the wrestling champion had already made visits to other teams.

“After initially not reaching out, the #Bills brought Gable Steveson, the Olympic gold medalist, in for a visit today,” Talbot wrote on X.

Steveson’s addition to the team came as a bit of a surprise given the team’s full roster and the two weeks between his visit and signing.

The Bills had their eye on Steveson for quite some time. The wrestler told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated in August 2021 that he met with one of the team’s scouts, though Steveson ultimately ended up signing with the WWE.

“So many great organizations and teams have reached out,” Steveson said. “A scout from the Bills, there is a connection with the Ravens. The Olympic gold medal is helping me see the world, so my next step is going to be a big decision. I’m going to decompress now and think about it.”

As’s Nick Shook noted, Steveson was a three-time All-American at the University of Minnesota and won the freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in 2021 in Tokyo after being delayed by a year due to the pandemic. Shook noted that Steveson is a bit undersized for his position, but his athleticism could make up for it.

“At 6-foot-1, Steveson wrestled in the heavyweight class in college — which caps out at 285 pounds — but is listed at 265 pounds, making for a light interior defensive lineman,” Shook wrote. “If he added 20 pounds, he’d mirror Aaron Donald in terms of basic measurables, but there’s no telling where he currently stands in terms of weight.”

Bills Going Off the Beaten Path

The Bills have not shied away from looking beyond the world of football to add talent to the team. They used a seventh-round draft pick on Travis Clayton, a British boxing and rugby standout who is part of the league’s International Player Pathway Program.

The team also invited local professional lacrosse player Zed Williams to rookie minicamp. The Buffalo-area native, who left minicamp without a contract, said he felt blessed for the opportunity.

“[I still have] a lot of learning to do. I haven’t played football since high school to be honest with you,” Williams said, via Spectrum News. “As you guys know, I’ve been in the lacrosse world. So [there’s still] a lot of catching up, a lot of learning. [I’m] just trying to learn as fast as I can.”

The Bills have also employed a number of multi-sport athletes, including former wide receiver Chris Hogan, the first player to compete in both the NFL and a professional lacrosse league.

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