Posted on: February 4, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 3:21 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
In 1995 the Expos drafted a catcher out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif., the same high school that produced Barry Bonds and Gregg Jeffries. Montreal scout Gary Hughes thought the team got a steal, but knew the catcher lasted until the 18th round because he was a good football player and would be difficult to sign.
In the end, Tom Brady passed on baseball, went to the University of Michigan on a football scholarship and will be playing in a football game this weekend. He made the right choice, but that doesn't mean the Expos scouts were wrong -- Brady was obviously a good athlete with a strong arm and good leadership skills, all things you want in a catcher.
CBSSports.com's Super Bowl Central
Brady's not the only NFL player who flirted with a career in baseball, several current NFL players have a baseball background. While there's no Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders or Brian Jordan currently playing at the highest level in both sports, there are a variety of NFL-MLB ties, from players who, like Brady, were drafted and didn't sign, to those who played in the minors and even one minor-leaguer who is hoping to be drafted into the NFL this year.
Here's a look at some current NFL players with baseball experience:
Cedric Benson -- The Bengals running back was drafted by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2001 draft and played nine games for the team's Gulf Coast League team, going 5 for 25, with all five of his hits going for extra bases -- three doubles and two triples. While he didn't homer, he walked 10 times in 34 plate appearances and was hit twice for a .412 on-base percentage and an .892 OPS.
Mark Brunell -- The 41-year-old Jets backup was… the lefty was drafted by the Braves in the 44th round of the 1992 draft, but didn't sign.
Kerry Collins -- The Tigers took him in the 26th round of the 1990 draft, the first of three future NFL players drafted, before Greg McMurtry and Rodney Peete. He was drafted again by the Tigers in the 60th round of the 1991 draft and the 48th round of the 1994 draft. He never signed.
Quan Cosby (right) -- The former Broncos and Bengals kick returner was a sixth-round pick by the Angels in 2001 and played four years in the team's minor-league system, spending two seasons with Cedar Rapids in the Class A Midwest League. In four seasons, he hit .260/.330/.321 with 71 stolen bases. In his last season, 2004, he stole 23 bases and hit five homers. After that season he went back to school at Texas and played wide receiver with the Longhorns. Undrafted in football, he signed with the Bengals and played last season with the Broncos before being waived at the end of the season and signed by the Colts.
Eric Decker -- The Broncos wide receiver was drafted in the 39th round by the Brewers in 2008 and in the 27th round by the Twins in 2009.
Dennis Dixon -- Twice drafted, the Steelers' third-string quarterback signed with the Braves after going in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. He played in the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League that year, hitting a combined .176/.322/.216 as an outfielder. He was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases, but struck out 22 times in 90 plate appearances, while putting up just a .176 average.
Matt Moore -- No, not the Rays' lefty Matt Moore, but the Dolphins quarterback. Moore was taken in the 22nd round of the 2004 draft by the Angels.
Golden Tate -- The Seahawks' wide receiver was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 42nd round of the 2007 draft and the Giants in the 50th round of the 2010 draft. He played two seasons of baseball at Notre Dame, hitting .329 as a sophomore and scoring 45 runs, the third-most in school history.
Michael Vick -- The Rockies drafted Vick in the 30th round of the 2000 draft, but he never signed.
Hines Ward -- The Marlins took Ward in the 73rd round of the 1994 draft, but he never signed.
Brandon Weeden -- CBSSports.com has the Oklahoma State quarterback the fourth-rated QB in the upcoming draft after leading Oklahoma State to an 11-1 record last season as a 28-year-old. The reason Weeden was so advanced in age as a college quarterback was that he spent five seasons in the minor leagues after the Yankees took him in the second round of the 2002 draft. Weeden, a right-handed pitcher, was 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA in 108 games and 65 starts in the minors. He averaged nearly a strikeout an inning, but had a 1.573 WHIP for the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals systems.
Ricky Williams -- The same year the current Ravens running back won the Heisman Trophy at Texas, he hit .283/.309/.283 in 55 plate appearances in the short-season New York-Penn League for the Batavia Muckdogs in the Phillies system. Despite a career .211/.265/.261 line in four years in the Phillies' system, the Expos took him in the 1998 Rule 5 draft before trading him to the Rangers. Williams didn't join the Rangers and never played another professional baseball game.
Russell Wilson -- Wilson is the 10th-ranked quarterback in the upcoming draft, according to CBSSports.com. Wilson, a second baseman, was drafted in 2007 by the Orioles and again in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Rockies. After spurning the Orioles out of high school, Wilson did sign with the Rockies, which led to a rift between him and his college coach at N.C. State, Tom O'Brien. WIlson played baseball each of the last two summers, playing 61 games for the Asheville Tourists of the Class A South Atlantic League last season, hitting .228/.366/.342 with three home runs and 15 stolen bases. He struck out 82 times in 236 plate appearances before heading to Wisconsin for his senior year of college. At Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to the Big 10 title. He recently told the Rockies he won't be reporting to spring training. The Rockies hold his rights for five more years and have said they'd welcome him back.
Of course, there are plenty of guys who went the other way and chose baseball instead of football, players like Todd Helton (who once started ahead of Peyton Manning at Tennessee), Adam Dunn (who was at Texas as a quarterback), Seth Smith (who backed up Eli Manning at Ole Miss), Joe Mauer (who was the nation's top recruit at quarterback and signed with Florida State) and Matt Holliday (who was offered a scholarship to play quarterback at Oklahoma State).
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Tags: Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL West, Athletics, Barry Bonds, Bo Jackson, Brandon Weeden, Brian Jordan, Cardinals, Cedric Benson, Deion Sanders, Dennis Dixon, Eric Decker, Expos, Gary Hguhes, Golden Tate, Gregg Jeffries, Hines Ward, Joe Mauer, Kerry Collins, Mark brunell, Matt Holliday, Matt Moore, Michael Vick, NL Central, NL West, Quan Cosby, Ricky Williams, Rockies, Russell Wilson, Seth Smith, Super Bowl, Todd Helton, Tom Brady, Twins, White Sox
Posted on: May 2, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 7:15 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Colorado Rockies prospect Russell Wilson's baseball career cost him his quarterback slot at North Carolina State.
Wilson, a three-year starter for the Wolfpack, said he wanted to return to N.C. State but when it became clear that coach Tom O'Brien wouldn't give him a fair shot at winning the starting quarterback job because he's playing baseball. Wilson, instead, asked for -- and was granted -- a release from his scholarship.
"I really want the fans, N.C. State alumni and most of all my teammates to know if I had been given an equal opportunity to compete for the starting job, I would not have asked for my release," Wilson told the Charlotte Observer. "I am a competitor."
O'Brien read statement over the phone to a reporter when reached for comment.
"He knew the importance of his time commitment to our football team heading into this offseason, and how things might change if he was not able to make that commitment," O'Brien said in both his statement and when he read the statement to the Observer.
Wilson said he respects O'Brien and what he wanted to do, but he still would have liked to have a chance to finish his career at N.C. State. Wilson had hoped to play both professional baseball and football, but will seek to exhaust his football eligibility and play another season. He said he needs to play in 2011 in order to show what he can do to the NFL.
Wilson led the ACC with 274.1 passing yards per game and with 307.5 yards of total offense, leading the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record, including a victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Because Wilson has already earned his degree from N.C. State, he would be eligible to transfer to another FBS school if he enrolls in a graduate program not offered by N.C. State. Wilson will certainly have plenty of options for places to play, inkling some SEC schools.
As a baseball player, the 22-year-old second baseman, is hitting .226/.377/.387 with a home run and four stolen bases in 21 games for the Class A Asheville Tourists. He's a teammate of former Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker, who is hitting .368/.416/.574 with two homers.
Wilson was drafted in the fourth round last year and signed for $200,000 with the Rockies allowing him to continue his football career.
Baseball America ranked him as the No. 19 prospect in the Rockies' system.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 1:38 pm
Ideally, Kyle Parker and Russell Wilson will share the outfield at Coors Field one day. But Saturday, they'll fight for territory on the gridiron in Clemson, S.C.
The two quarterbacks, Parker of Clemson and Wilson of North Carolina State, oppose each other this week as both try to make the most of their football lives before turning to baseball. John Henderson has their stories in today's Denver Post.
"Both guys are great kids," Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt said. "We're just trying to get them through the season healthy."
Parker (pictured) was the Rockies' first-round pick in last year's draft, with Wilson going in the fifth.
The Rockies offered Parker, the first Division I athlete to throw 20 touchdowns and hit 20 homers in the same academic year, $2.25 million to quit football and start his baseball career. He settled for $1.4 million and permission to return to Clemson for his sophomore football season.
Wilson graduated N.C. State in three years and is playing as a graduate student. He batted .230 in 32 Northwest League games last summer, and while his baseball future is less clear than Parker's, his football season is going much better. He leads the ACC in total offense. His goal is to play in both the major leagues and the NFL.
-- David Andriesen
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 8:53 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:54 am
Apparently the Rockies have a thing for quarterbacks.
The New York Times ' Billy Witz has an interesting angle on this weekend's matchup of the Mannings in the NFL: the Rockies have backups to Peyton Manning and Eli Manning on their roster. Todd Helton backed up the elder Manning at Tennessee and Seth Smith was behind Eli at Ole Miss.
In addition to those two, the Rockies drafted Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker in the first round of June's draft and North Carolina State QB Russell Wilson in the fourth round.
Assistant general manager Bill Geivett said the team isn't targeting quarterbacks, but does find QBs usually have leadership qualities and intelligence, two things they certainly don't mind.
"Especially with all the offensive schemes you've got to learn now," Geivett said. "All that being said, you better hit."
While Parker and Wilson are starting for their teams, Helton played in four games before Peyton Manning took over and Smith never got into a game as a quarterback, but did play as a receiver.
"Being around guys like that made it an easy decision," Helton said of choosing baseball over football.
Anyway, go ahead and read the whole article, it's pretty interesting.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .