January 9, 2011
Now Batting...Michael Vick?
On this, the opening weekend of the NFL Playoffs, we're reminded that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick once had a chance at becoming another one in a long line of two-sport stars...joining the likes of Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders or even Brian Jordan.
You see, following his spectacular freshman season at Virginia Tech (you know, the one where he led his Hokies to the BCS National Championship Game), the Colorado Rockies made him the 887th overall pick in the 2000 MLB draft.
''The way he ran around the field we figure he could track down some balls in the outfield at Coors Field,'' Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt following the draft. ''It really wasn't a big risk taking him at that point.''
Here's the kicker...dude hadn't played baseball since he was a 13-year-old eighth grader.
''I didn't believe them when they told me,'' said Vick in a 2000 interview with USA Today. ''I didn't think anyone would be interested in me for baseball.''
Since we know now that Vick was destined to become, well, Michael Vick and not, say, Juan Pierre...it's interesting to look at some other notable current NFLers that turned their back on baseball.
Famously, Miami Dolphins runningback Ricky Williams spent four years as a professional baseball player in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, compiling a .211 batting average in 613 Minor League plate appearances. A shortstop in high school, he became an outfielder in the pro ranks. His current teammate Ronnie Brown also has a baseball past...having been selected by the Seattle Mariners out of high school.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers Hines Ward and Antwan Randle El were drafted in 1994 by the Florida Marlins and 1997 by the Chicago Cubs respectively. Another Steeler, Mewelde Moore was picked in the fourth round of the 2000 draft by the San Diego Padres.
And yet another Steeler, backup quarterback Dennis Dixon was also a highly recruited baseball player and found himself initially drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2003.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Roydell Williams was selected by the Reds in the fifth round of the 2000 draft. A year later, Cincinnati Benglas runningback Cedric Benson found himself snatched up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Kerry Collins saw himself get drafted three separate times. He was first drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1990 and was one of three straight future NFL players (Greg McMurtry and Rodney Peete were the others) they picked. The next year, Detroit tried again taking him in the 60th round. Lastly, he found himself again selected in the 1994 draft...this time by the Toronto Blue Jays.
And lastly, yeah, even that shaggy-haired quarterback in New England has a baseball past. Then a high school catcher in San Mateo, California, Tom Brady was taken in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos.