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Bills Sign Olympic Gold Medalist Wrestler with No Prior Football Experience

On Friday, the organization signed Gable Steveson, an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling who has never played organized football.

Steveson won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 125 kg division. Now, he and the Bills are eager to see if his wrestling skills can translate to the football field.

“I have been fortunate to compete at the highest level in my sport but am excited to see how my wrestling skills may translate to football,” Steveson said in a statement released by his agent, Carter Chow. “I am grateful to Coach [Sean] McDermott, [general manager] Brandon Beane, and the Buffalo Bills organization for giving me this opportunity.”

Steveson, who is listed as a defensive lineman, joins a team led by McDermott, a two-time high school national wrestling champion from Pennsylvania. Although McDermott pursued football after high school, he credits wrestling for significantly shaping his life.

Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 266 pounds, Steveson, now 21, became the youngest freestyle wrestler to win gold as a super heavyweight at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. He then went on to win two college national titles at Minnesota in 2021 and 2022, earning the Dan Hodge Trophy twice as the nation’s best college wrestler.

Steveson is the second player without prior football experience that Buffalo has added to its roster this offseason. Last month, the Bills used their final draft pick to select former English rugby player Travis Clayton in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old Clayton, listed at 6-foot-7 and 303 pounds, is projected to play on the offensive line after spending the past winter learning about American football in the NFL’s International Pathway Program.

Steveson hails from Minnesota, and his mother named him Gable in honor of wrestler Dan Gable, who won gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

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