Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, in a game versus the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 13, 2013 at the Georgia Dome

Seattle Seahawks quarterback could have played professional baseball

Update: Congratulations to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks for winning the Super Bowl!

Even if you aren’t planning on watching the Super Bowl next Sunday (February 2), chances are someone you know will be. The big NFL championship football game that pits the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks will be on the television screens of more than 100 million people.

If you aren’t watching, but want to impress someone who is, here’s an amazing fact: Russell Wilson, the starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, played both baseball and football in college, and was good enough to get selected in the MLB draft.

Russell Wilson playing baseball for North Carolina State

Coming out of high school, Wilson was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. He went to college, instead, and played both baseball and football – he even played two seasons of minor league baseball during his summer breaks – until being drafted by the Seahawks in 2012.

In that first year in the NFL, Wilson was an undisputed star and led his team to the divisional playoffs. But in a MLB supplementary draft the next year, the Texas Rangers still drafted him even though they know he’s unlikely to ever wear their jersey. A baseball scout said that Wilson, “has off-the-charts character and work ethic, and whatever he puts his mind to is full go. He had some strength and quickness, and we felt in time he’d be able to play Major League defense.”

Two other quarterbacks that came within a game of the 2014 Super Bowl also played elite-level baseball.

Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, was selected by the Montreal Expos in the MLB draft. And San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, who were even willing to let him play both sports professionally.

Modern-day professional athletes did not grow up playing one sport. NBA MVP Steve Nash is a top-notch soccer player and NHL star Vincent Lecavalier played high-level baseball until he was 14.

There are distinct advantages to playing multiple sports, especially for children who are still learning and who can be prone to repetitive-use injuries.

Photo credits: Mark Runyon of Pro Football SchedulesSeth Youngblood

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