As much as it is hard to believe, I do not envy the multi-sport athlete. These extraordinarily talented individuals have been playing more than one sport their entire lives, and found nothing but success on both ends. With the way the world works, each one of them comes to a point where they must choose one sport to put most of their focus and time on. Russell Wilson's time to make a final decision has come.
When Wilson decided to sign the Rockies contract, and go to minor leagues, that should've been his final decision to play baseball. But now, he's shopping himself around, and possibly ruining his relationship with the Rockies. The team's director of player development said this week that he will lose a substantial portion of his signing bonus if he was to go play football, and he also insinuated that Wilson might not be welcomed back to the organization if he was to leave.
But apparently he's not ready to walk away from football.
The funny thing is that if Wilson was not ready to walk away from football, he did not have to sign the Rockies contract. He could've stayed at NC State and played another year of college baseball and college football, get drafted by both leagues, and then decide what he wanted to do.
His situation is different than that of his minor league teammate Kyle Parker. The former Clemson quarterback was taken in the first round of the baseball draft. His signing bonus was in the millions. He would be walking away from a lot of money if he stayed at Clemson. Wilson was drafted much later, and his signing bonus was $250,000. He didn't have to sign, he could've gone back to Raleigh, and possibly get taken higher the next year, or gone to the NFL. Instead, he's putting that money, and that job, in jeopardy, for what might be only one year of college football.
Apparently, Wilson still has a dream of playing in the NFL. I certainly understand the sentiment - his father's football career finished just short of reaching that level, and he would love to honor him by making it to that level. But if that was the number one goal, then he shouldn't have left a year early for baseball.
I was in Syracuse, NY when Greg Paulus was in high school at Christian Brothers Academy. To this day, he's one of the two best high school quarterbacks I've ever seen. His senior year, he was the National Gatorade Player of the Year for football. But Paulus's dream was to play basketball - and after graduating from CBA, he chose to be a point guard at Duke. When it was clear he was not going to the NBA, He was able to go back and play a year of football at Syracuse University, but, his chances of being an NFL quarterback had run out. Now he's an assistant basketball coach.
The best quarterback I've ever seen at the high school level is Everett Golson from Myrtle Beach High School. Golson, an invitee to the Elite 11 camp, could've gone almost anywhere to play football. But throughout the recruiting process, he would only look at colleges that also gave him a chance to play basketball. He eventually chose Notre Dame, and is an incoming freshman next year. Just like Wilson, I hope that Golson understands when it is time to make the choice.
Wilson should've made the choice when he signed with the Rockies. Now he has another opportunity. If he wants to play baseball, then he should dismiss these dreams of coming back for another year of football. If he's had his taste of the minor leagues, and wants to give the NFL a shot, then go to Auburn, Wisconsin, or wherever. But he needs to make that choice now, because it will be the last time he has the chance.