Russell Wilson is heading to spring training with baseball’s Texas Rangers, who drafted the dual quarterback and infielder, after helping lead the Seattle Seahawks to a crushing Super Bowl win on Sunday.
Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi was the first to report the news via Twitter.
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Whether Wilson actually plays is another story, though.
The Rangers selected Wilson via the Rule 5 draft, but have always said they never expected him to give up football. The team sees him as offering inspiration — as someone whose abilities had long been doubted — to a franchise that failed to make the playoffs last year after losing the World Series in both 2010 and 2011.
“Everything you see and read about him and seeing him play on Sundays, you hear about the work ethic, the person,” Rangers Assistant General Manager A.J. Preller said in December, according to ESPN.
“I think that’s going to be a positive message for all of our players in our system, our coaches, everybody to have somebody like that around.
“Just having him around, having him talk to a group, I think there’s definitely positives in that,” Preller continued.
Wilson would not be the first football star to play Major League Baseball. Oakland Raiders All Pro Bo Jackson was also an All-Star with the Kansas City Royals, and Deion Sanders won a Super Bowl with both the 49ers and Cowboys and played with the Braves in the 1992 World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Wilson was first drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 41st round of the 2007 draft, but he opted to play football at North Carolina State instead. Three years later, the Colorado Rockies drafted him in the fourth round and signed him to a $200,000 contract. He gave up part of that bonus when he later inked a deal for nearly $3 million with the Seahawks.
Playing on the Rockies Class A team, Wilson hit a combined .229 with five home runs and 19 stolen bases in 2010 and 2011.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer noted that Wilson
shows promise despite his modest statistics.
“While the .229 average is underwhelming at first glance, Wilson showed good plate discipline and speed on the base paths,” the PI reported. “He notched a respectable .354 on-base percentage, 51 walks and 19 stolen bases over his period in the minors.”
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