Nate Robinson pondered NFL tryout

Updated: January 31, 2013, 4:45 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

MILWAUKEE -- Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson said Wednesday he had a plan if he didn't sign with an NBA team last summer, and he wasn't going to let his 5-foot-9 frame get in the way.

[+] EnlargeNate Robinson
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty ImagesAt 5-9, Nate Robinson wouldn't be the shortest member of the Seahawks.

"If I didn't (make a basketball team) I was going to go play football," Robinson said. "So it really didn't matter to me ... I was going to try out if I didn't get a job in basketball."

Robinson played one year at cornerback for the University of Washington and intercepted a pass in a 2002 game against Washington State. The Seattle native had his eye on one NFL team in particular.

"I was trying to go try out for the Seahawks during the (2011 NBA) lockout," Robinson said. "If no team wanted me to play basketball, I was going to go play football."

As The Seattle Times reported in 2011, Robinson exchanged a few tweets with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who had recruited Robinson to play at USC when Carroll was the coach there. But Robinson never took Carroll up on his offer to go out to practice.

"He may be a little distracted with basketball, I don't know," The Times quoted Carroll as saying at the time. "If he is, he probably won't be able to do it. But if he can get focused, there's always a chance."

According to the official rosters, if Robinson did join the Seahawks, he wouldn't have been their shortest player; Leon Washington is listed at 5-8.

In the end, Robinson chose to stick with basketball, getting taken in the first round of the 2005 draft by Phoenix.

Robinson -- scored 24 points Wednesday to lead Chicago past the Milwaukee Bucks -- has talked about the fact that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Robinson when they were with the Boston Celtics, recruited him from the beginning of the free-agency period.

"Coach Thibs called me and was like, 'We'd love to have you here, have a meeting, sit down, chat,' and I took it as a sign from God," Robinson said. "So I was like, 'Yeah, (I'll play here).' He said he wanted me, he has big plans, and now I'm here."

Robinson has become an important part of Thibodeau's bench, averaging 11.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds a game. The lifelong Michael Jordan fan said he had a couple of other NBA teams show interest, but he has enjoyed his time playing in Chicago.

"I was like, 'Man, I would love to play for the Bulls,' " he said. "On top of that with [Derrick] Rose, Joakim (Noah), we got so many great guys here and I was like, 'Why not?' How can you turn something like this down?"

Robinson is still supporting the Seahawks and keeping an eye on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

"I watched him in college," Robinson said. "I watched what he was doing, he did good in the Pro Bowl, a lot of guys from the Seahawks did good in the Pro Bowl, so it just shows (Seattle area code) 206 is in the building."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.