Long shot Lesnar leaves mat to chase NFL dream

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MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - The money, glamour and perks provided by Brock Lesnar's lifestyle as a professional wrestler just weren't bringing him happiness, so he decided to leave.

Now the former World Wrestling Entertainment champion who performed with the moniker "The Next Big Thing" is trying to make a new name for himself - in the NFL.

Lesnar hasn't played football since 1995, when he was a high school senior in Webster, S.D. But his brawn, quickness and tenacity were enough to convince the Minnesota Vikings he was worth signing and bringing to training camp as a defensive tackle.

"All I can ask for is the opportunity," said Lesnar, a one-time NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion at Minnesota who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds. "I know I'm a quick learner, and I know I'm coachable."

He'll have to be. Body slams aren't allowed, and nobody wears a feather boa. Success, or lack thereof, is determined solely by his distance from the ball.

"He's got a long way to go before his form is any good," coach Mike Tice said. "We're excited to see his work ethic ... but he's got a long road to haul."

Lesnar realizes that.

"I just know I'm athletic," he said. "I've loved football since I was a young kid. I'm not going to make any expectations. ... I just want to do well."

So does everyone else, it seems.

"He's a great guy, a great athlete," WWE spokesman Gary Davis said. "He made his mark and had quite an accomplished run. Who knows? Once he has pursued his dream of the NFL, maybe he'll want to do something with the WWE again.

"We're very excited for him."

Teammates, too, are embracing Lesnar's tryout - rather than rolling their eyes.

"Brock is a guy with great ambition," said tackle Chris Hovan, who is rooming with Lesnar during camp. "Any chance he needs to get better, I'll help."

Lesnar insists this isn't a publicity stunt. Then-Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy expressed interest in Lesnar after his college career was over, according to one of Lesnar's agents, Ed Hitchcock.

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Just to let ya know, Brock Lesnar is one of the best people i like. He fights as a wwe wrestler (www.wwe.com) and he is really good. I think he quit wwe but not sure. ;)

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Who wants to bet that he doesnt make the cut and begs WWE to take him back?

i dunno, i think he has a good chance of making it if he works a lot...and i think he will

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