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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson drafted by Rangers

Posted Dec 12, 2013

On the way to his chosen profession Thursday morning, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson got a call from Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels informing him he had just been drafted by a baseball team. Again.

Russell Wilson was driving to work Thursday morning when his phone rang.

That’s not unusual. But where the call was coming from, and why, went beyond unusual.

“Funny story,” Wilson said later in the day during his weekly Q&A session with the media. “I get up this morning and I’m on my way to work and I get a call around 6:15, 6:30. It’s from Arlington, Texas. And I’m like, ‘Who’s calling right now?’ ”

Turns out it was Jon Daniels, the general manager of the Texas Rangers, who was calling to inform Wilson that he had been selected in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

“Pretty cool thing,” Wilson said.

Again, since this is the third time the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback has been drafted in his other sport. A second baseman in his baseball days, Wilson was taken in the 41st round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007 out of Collegiate High School in Richmond, Va. Wilson opted for North Carolina State, where he played football and baseball. In 2010, the Colorado Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round, and he actually played for their Class A clubs in parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

But since the Seahawks selected Wilson in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, his baseball has been limited to the team’s home run derby (which he won) and throwing out the first pitch at a Mariners game.

“It’s a blessing, for sure,” Wilson said of this latest flirtation with baseball. “But at the same time obviously my focus is on football.”

That’s good, since Wilson is preparing to lead the 11-2 Seahawks into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West title and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win and a loss by the San Francisco 49ers. They can add home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and losses by the 49ers and New Orleans Saints.

So Wilson’s focus is squarely on the Giants’ defense and pass rush, not hitting a curve ball.

“Mr. Daniels and I talked about that,” Wilson said. “Obviously, he knew that. But they just wanted to let me know that basically they got my rights from the Colorado Rockies.”

And why would the Rangers make such a selection?

“We talk to our scouts about the makeup we want of our players and the work ethic it takes to win, and Russell Wilson has been an example of that,” Daniels told reporters covering the draft at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “He has off-the-charts character and focus.

“We want to be respectful of where he’s at right now. I got a chance to talk to him, and he was excited. We wanted to welcome him to the organization and told him, ‘Don’t be insulted if you don’t hear from us again until you’re done playing because we don’t want to get in the way of what you’ve got going on.”

And what Wilson has going on his chosen profession – and first sport – is pretty impressive. He is 22-7 since stepping in as the Seahawks’ starter last season. The 22 victories tie him with the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger for the most in NFL history by a QB in his first two seasons. He’s also unbeaten at CenturyLink Field (14-0). He is third on the all-time list for passing TDs in the first two seasons with 49, trailing only Dan Marino (68) and Peyton Manning (52). He has the second-best winning percent (.759) among active quarterbacks behind Tom Brady (.777). He has the highest passer rating in the league (111.4) since Week 11 last season, a 21-game span in which the Seahawks are 18-3.

But Wilson said he wouldn’t mind going to the spring training and talking with the Rangers’ players.

“I’m sure I’ll go for spring training and just talk to some of their players and hang out some,” he said. “That would be kind of a cool experience.”

That’s post-postseason stuff, however. The experience Wilson is focused on is the same one that he has been preaching all season: Beating the Giants to go 1-0 this week and take advantage of this week’s championship opportunity.

“Obviously I love baseball. But football is where my first love is,” he said.

Asked if he had thought about “going Bo Jackson,” and playing both sports at the same, Wilson smiled, paused and offered, “I’ve thought about it before. I’m not going to lie. But no, I’m just focused on football.”