Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl four years ago, and he’s still in his prime. But instead of getting ready for the 2018-19 season, he’s spending his months off playing baseball.
On Wednesday, the Texas Rangers traded the Seahawks quarterback to the New York Yankees. Longtime Yankee baseball exec Brian Cashman is happy to have the four-time Pro-Bowler in the Big Apple because, although he may be a superstar in another sport, the mindset of a striving athlete is still there.
“We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time,” Cashman said in a statement. “This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession.”
He continued: “After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season.”
Wilson has no interest in pulling a Michael Jordan and trying to become a double threat, but he’s always loved baseball. His dad, Harrison B. Wilson III, played football and baseball at Dartmouth before becoming a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers. And his former teammate, linebacker Reggie Williams, says Russell owes his skills to his father.
“All the things you heard about him with his teammates, all the things you heard about him from everyone at that school? Russell is everything that his father was, on the football field and in academic and social settings,” Williams once told Sporting News.
Wilson was also a dual-sport college athlete during his time at North Carolina State University. While still enrolled in 2011, he reported to spring training for the Colorado Rockies. His baseball dreams ended when he transferred to Wisconsin and became a quarterback for the Badgers.
And before he decided to go to college, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the fifth pick in the 41st round in 2006. He admitted that it was a tough decision. “I was leaning towards [entering the draft], but a college education is something you’ll always have,” he said in 2008.
Playing professional baseball has always been a dream for Wilson, and with a four-year $87 million contract from the Seahawks already solidified, his passion for the game is his motivation, not money.