Posted by Tom Fornelli
We've heard plenty about former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson and his hopes to play another season of college football in 2011, be it at Wisconsin, Auburn or any number of other schools who may be interested in a one-year rental. Of course, the side of the story that hasn't been publicized as much is that of Wilson's current employer: the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies selected Wilson in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft, giving him a $250,000 signing bonus, and he's been playing in Colorado's minor league system this year.
Well, the Rockies aren't thrilled with the idea of Wilson leaving his minor league team, the Asheville Tourists, before the season is over to play football. Colorado's senior director of player development, Marc Gustafson, told the Citizen Times that Wilson would have to return a "significant portion" of his signing bonus if he did leave early to play another season of football. The Rockies are also concerned about how Wilson would handle the lack of playing time between this season and next, and how that could slow down his development and handicap his chances to one day play for the Rockies.
Wilson has struggled with the Tourists this season, hitting only .216 with 53 strikeouts in 116 at bats. In his 230 at bats since being drafted, Wilson has struck out 89 times. A problem the Rockies don't feel Wilson can solve by playing football this fall. Gustafson went on to tell the Citizen Times that the Rockies would be "disappointed" if Wilson decided to play football again this fall.
Which means that Wilson has a choice here that's a lot more difficult than where he wants to play in 2011. The question is should he. Trust me, if the Rockies are telling a local newspaper that they'd take back a significant amount of Wilson's signing bonus if he plays football, then they've already let him know this as well. So Wilson must be prepared to lose the money.
What I'm wondering is whether or not Wilson is having serious doubts about his future as a professional baseball player. It could be that his struggles so far in the Rockies minor league system have him wondering whether or not he'd be better off trying to make it in the NFL. Which would be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction because, struggles or no struggles, 230 at bats isn't enough to know that you're just not going to be good enough.
I can't help but think that if Wilson is serious about playing another year of football, and it looks like he is, then he's doing it with the ultimate goal of being drafted by an NFL team next spring.
Hat tip: Dr. Saturday