Is it realistic to think that Russell Wilson might really try someday to play professional baseball again?
In Wilson’s eyes, the answer is apparently yes.
In a statement sure to get a lot of attention, the Seattle quarterback told Bryant Gumbel during a recent interview for HBO’s Real Sports that he has not closed the door on the idea of someday playing both football and baseball.
“You never want to kill the dream of playing two sports,” Wilson said in a clip of the interview that was provided to media today by HBO for the show that will debut on April 21. “I would honestly play two sports.”
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Asked by Gumbel what is stopping him, Wilson said “I don’t know. I may push the envelope a little bit one of these days.”
It’s worth remembering, of course, that Wilson is still negotiating a contract extension with the Seahawks, and it probably doesn’t hurt Wilson to leave the baseball option out there until that contract is completed. There is speculation that Wilson could get a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the NFL, topping the $22 million annual salary of Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
Seattle general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have each said in recent weeks that talks with Wilson have begun to get more serious.
“Ongoing. Just ongoing,” Carroll said after UW’s Pro Day last week. “Really, that’s all you can really say about it. But it’s underway.’’
The Seahawks are expected to attempt to get a deal with Wilson done before the 2015 season. And if Wilson does get a mammoth deal topping more than $100 million, the baseball doors at that point might close for good.
But for now, Wilson is doing what he can to keep them open.
He has attended one day of spring training with the Texas Rangers each of the last two years, getting attention by hitting a home run in batting practice this year.
Wilson, remember, also played two years of minor league baseball in 2010 and 2011 as a member of the Colorado Rockies’ organization. He hit .230 in 32 games with Tri-Cities of the Northwest League (a team based in Pasco) in 2010 and .228 in 61 games with Asheville in 2011 (full stats here). He also played baseball at North Carolina State.
It was also Wilson’s pursuit of a pro baseball career that helped lead to his transfer from North Carolina State to Wisconsin for his final year of college football (Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien wasn’t real happy that Wilson was going to miss spring practice to play baseball instead).
If Wilson signs a contract for $100 million-plus with the Seahawks would he really then want to spend some of his spring and summers riding buses in the minor leagues? For now, he seems to be saying he’d at least think about it.
In the clip provided by HBO (which you can see below) Wilson also talks a little bit about the final play of the Super Bowl.
Wilson say when the play call came in he was anticipating a touchdown (which is what he said after the game, as well), and when asked how often he’s watched it he smiled and said he tires not to watch it too much anymore.