Dave Boling: Wilson shying from two-sport talk

dave.boling@thenewstribune.comDecember 13, 2013 

RENTON — Russell knows baseball.

But he’s focused on football.

Yet when pressed on the issue of pulling a “Bo Jackson” and trying to play in both the NFL and Major League Baseball, Russell Wilson hesitated for a noticeable moment.

“Ahhhh …” the Seattle quarterback started. “I’ve thought about it before, I’m not gonna lie. (But) no, I’m just focused on football.”

The Seahawks were preparing for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, but Wilson on Thursday was peppered with questions about baseball because he’d been drafted by the Texas Rangers in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 baseball draft.

Wilson played second base for two seasons for the Colorado Rockies in their farm system before being drafted by the Seahawks in 2012.

Wilson, who made the Pro Bowl last season in his rookie year, said he was driving to work Thursday morning when a call came in from Arlington, Texas. It was Rangers general manager Jon Daniels telling Wilson about their move to draft him.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Wilson said. “It’s my third time being drafted in baseball. So, it’s a blessing, for sure. At the same time, my focus is on football. Mr. Daniels and I talked about that; obviously he knew that.”

Rangers executives did not define a role for Wilson, but the suggestion was he could serve in some limited advisory capacity.

While stressing his focus on Sunday’s game, and his career in the NFL, Wilson said he was willing to visit the Rangers in spring training and talk to their players.

Wilson said he misses baseball most in the spring, when he goes to Mariners games and visits with such players as pitcher Felix Hernandez.

“But there’s nothing better than playing quarterback in front of 90,000 people and it’s third-and-6 and the game is on the line,” he said. “That’s why I decided to play football — because I love those moments.”

Receiver and punt-returner Golden Tate, who played center field at Notre Dame, has been called twice by Major League teams. He was contacted by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of high school and by the San Francisco Giants in June 2010 — just before his rookie season with the Seahawks.

“I felt like football was more for me and the type of person I am,” Tate said.

But the carryover from baseball to football has been “huge” when it comes to fielding punts, he said.

“You’re taught to catch the baseball at its highest point going forward, so I think I have a knack for being able to look up and down a few times before I catch the ball,” he said. “It helps me a lot in tracking (the flight of the ball) … even now I still catch fly balls messing around, to help with that hand-eye (coordination).”

VERSATILE DEFENSE

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn stressed how lucky the team is to have Malcolm Smith to step in for injured linebacker K.J. Wright (foot surgery).

Despite the absence of Wright, as well as cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner, the Seahawks are still No. 1 in total defense in the NFL.

“It goes to the versatility of the players,” Quinn said. “K.J.’s having a terrific year, but we have all the confidence in Malcolm. We’re really fortunate he’s a guy who has enough smarts to play (multiple positions). When he’s come in and played, we like the results.”

WEATHER NOT AN ISSUE

Wilson wasn’t bothered by the possibility of nasty weather in New Jersey on Sunday.

“I’m kinda hoping there’s snow, to be honest with you,” Wilson said. “Playing in snow is one of the things I’ve wanted to do. I played in it some in (college at) Wisconsin, but that was more so in practice.”

When asked about playing at MetLife Stadium, site of the next Super Bowl, Wilson was not interested in projecting the Seahawks as likely visitors in February.

“I can’t let that cross my mind,” Wilson said. “You have to ignore the noise and just play great football, like we would anywhere else.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman elaborated on the importance of focusing only on Sunday’s opponent. To do anything less, he said, would be disrespectful.

“We’ll go there and fight hard with them and try to get a win out of it, but that’s all right now,” Sherman said. “You’d be doing disrespect to the New York Giants and their organization. They’re good players. … We’re totally preparing for them right now.”

INJURY REPORT

Seattle: Out: LB K.J. Wright (foot). Did not participate in practice: WR Percy Harvin (hip), TE Zach Miller (ribs), CB Brandon Browner (groin). Limited: C Max Unger (pec). Full participation: RB Marshawn Lynch (shoulder), CB Richard Sherman (foot), LB Mike Morgan (knee), WR Doug Baldwin (neck), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury).

New York: Did not participate: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), S Cooper Taylor (hamstring), CB Corey Webster (ankle). Limited: DT Cullen Jenkins (shin/quad), CB Terrell Thomas (knee).

Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 dave.boling@thenewstribune.com @DaveBoling blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

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