- Terry Blount, ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter
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Let’s get this out of the way right from the start: Russell Wilson is not going to play baseball.
Not while he’s the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Not while he is the face of the franchise. Not while they are about to pay him more than $100 million.
Yes, Wilson really does love baseball. He would love to give the game a legitimate shot at some point in the future. In a recent interview for HBO’s "Real Sports," Wilson was asked if he still has dreams of being a two-sport athlete. “You never want to kill the dream of playing two sports,” Wilson said.
Asked what’s stopping him, Wilson said: “I don’t know. I may push the envelope a little bit one of these days.”
But not today or next week or next year, for that matter. When Bryant Gumbel asked the question, of course Wilson was going to say he wants to do it. He’s the ultimate competitor and he believes in his athletic talent.
That’s a good thing. It’s gotten him to where he is today: A two-time Super Bowl quarterback who has surprised all of his critics with his NFL accomplishments.
But this is 2015 and Wilson is an extremely intelligent guy. There is no realistic way to do all of the things he needs to do as a starting NFL quarterback while trying to make a concerted effort to play professional baseball.
A public-relations trip to Arizona for one day of spring training with the Texas Rangers is fine. Putting in the time and commitment to actually play the game is not a dream, but a pipe dream and 100 percent unachievable. And it’s also likely to be a sticking point in his contact negotiations with the Seahawks.
Before agreeing to pay him a long-term contract that is expected to be north of $20 million a year (with as much as $70 million guaranteed) the Seahawks’ brass is going to want assurances that Wilson isn’t going to skip off to spring training and play second base in the minors anytime soon.
Any plan Wilson might have of playing baseball would start in the minors. As talented an athlete as he is, Wilson isn’t anywhere close to a major league player. He hasn’t played a minor league game since 2011 when he hit. 228 at Class A Asheville, North Carolina.
There also is some thought all this baseball talk is posturing as a negotiations move forward with the Seahawks. Wilson’s agent (Mark Rodgers, a baseball agent by trade) would use it as leverage if the Seahawks attempted to lowball Wilson.
This is laughable since Wilson wouldn’t come close to making the kind of money in baseball that he’s about to make in the NFL, but Wilson could say he will pursue baseball in some fashion if he doesn’t get the deal he wants from the Seahawks. I doubt Seattle general manager John Schneider or coach Pete Carroll are losing too much sleep over that idea.
Being a successful quarterback in the NFL for a Super Bowl-contending team is a full-time job. Wilson is in Hawaii this week with many of his teammates, working out, running plays, but mainly taking time to bond.
There are 10 days of organized team activities in May and June, three days of minicamps in June and training camp starting a month later.
Wilson often uses this hashtag with his tweets: #NoTime2Sleep. He can add this one: #NoTime4Baseball.
If he gets to end of his upcoming, nine-figure contract and decides he’s done with football, financially secure and wants to give baseball a serious try in his early 30s, then he should go for it.
There will be other two-sport athletes, like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, at some point in the future. But it won’t be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL entering the peak of his career.
In other words, it won’t be Russell Wilson.
Let's get this out of the way right from the start: Russell Wilson is not going to play baseball.