Vanessa Kuffner, Staff Writer
Russell Wilson, starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, doesn’t spend his offseason like most NFL players. Wilson played college baseball and football for North Carolina State University from 2008 to 2010, before he transferred to the University of Wisconsin in 2011. He played second base for NC State, hitting .229 with a .708 OPS in 93 games over the course of two seasons. Wilson has played baseball since he was a child. He played minor league baseball for the Tri-City Dust Devils in 2010, and the Ashville Tourists in 2011. In 2012, Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks. Fans see Wilson as the man who led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, and who is the second highest rated passer, under Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, most people don’t know that Wilson was originally recruited for baseball. In 2010, he was recruited by the Colorado Rockies, and was paid a $200,000 bonus, but he returned it when he signed with the Seahawks after two seasons with the Rockies.
Now Wilson is spending a week with the Yankees during their spring training, where he made his debut. He stepped up to bat, and after five pitches struck out, with two balls and three strikes. Despite this, the crowd was excited to see Wilson up to bat. It is still to be determined whether or not Wilson will be allowed to play competitively in the field during the offseason with the Yankees, but he will be training with them for the time being. This is not the first time Wilson has trained in baseball during the off season. In 2013 and 2014, he trained with the Texas Rangers. His rights were traded from Texas to New York for “future considerations.” Wilson is also connected to Yankee player, Aaron Judge, who was offered to play football, but chose baseball instead. The two bonded over their success in their current sports.
In an interview for the MLB, Wilson stated “Ever since I was a young kid, I always dreamed of being a Yankee, I always watched them. My favorite player was Derek Jeter, growing up and watching him and his professionalism. How he played the game, the competitiveness he played with, the passion, the love, the joy he played with every day…” Wilson also talked about how baseball impacted his mental game, “…my whole life, baseball has been a big part of my life and more so my mentality too. When I think about playing football I think about playing quarterback, but when I think about success a lot of that happens through my career in baseball in terms of mentality and everything else and that translates into football.” Wilson kept his love for baseball alive when he was drafted by the Seahawks. Although he might be known for his amazing football career, to him, his first success was in baseball.