Not surprisingly, you can count Seahawks general manager John Schneider among those who doubt it would be feasible for Russell Wilson to add professional baseball to his already loaded plate as Seattle’s starting quarterback.
Wilson recently told HBO that he hasn’t closed the door on one day playing two sports. Asked about those comments Wednesday during an in-studio interview with “The Dori Monson Show” on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, Schneider said he appreciates Wilson’s ambition but added that it would be a logistical challenge given the responsibilities that come with being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
“I think one of the primary things that really attracted Russell to us – I know me in particular – was the confidence he has in himself and the goals, dreams, aspirations. He’s off the charts in terms of his confidence level and the way he views himself, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would think that way,” Schneider said. “Quite frankly, I haven’t thought much about the baseball aspect of it. Based on the position that he plays in football, I think it would be difficult. But the way he attacks everything, I don’t think you could put anything past him.”
Schneider declined to answer when asked whether the Seahawks would contractually prohibit Wilson from playing baseball, saying: “That’s not something I’d get into right now.”
Wilson played baseball at North Carolina State and spent two seasons as an infielder in the Rockies’ minor-league system. A preview for an upcoming edition of “Real Sports” on HBO shows Wilson saying he’s open to resuming his professional baseball career, which, of course, would entail much more than the spring-training cameo appearances he’s made the last two years with the Rangers.
“I never want to kill the dream of playing two sports,” Wilson told Bryant Gumbel. “I would honestly play two sports.”
Asked what’s stopping him from doing that, Wilson said with a chuckle: “I don’t know. I may push the envelope a little bit one of these days.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, Wilson’s comments come as he’s negotiating a long-term contract extension with the Seahawks that could include an annual average of more than $20 million, which would make him one of the league’s highest paid players.
A report from ProFootballTalk.com on Tuesday stated that the two sides are “not making much, if any, progress.”
Schneider didn’t get into specifics of those negotiations, unsurprisingly, aside from saying that they are underway. He spoke at length about the negotiation process in general and how the team has to balance its desire to fairly compensate core players like Wilson without sacrificing the financial flexibility it takes to sustain the roster around them.
In other words, the Seahawks aren’t going to let Wilson name his price.
“What I can tell you is that this is the ultimate team sport, we have a track record of rewarding our players that we recognize as core players,” Schneider said. “We’re going into our sixth draft now – I can’t believe that; we’ve been here for a while now – but just that track record of being able to make those tough decisions. Every negotiation is unique in and of itself and this is no different. Ultimate team sport, he’s our quarterback, we’d love him to be our quarterback. But the thing is, we need to keep as many of these guys together as we possibly can.”
Schneider added: “I think you’ve seen over the last several years now a philosophy of competition at every position and trying to acquire as many players as you possibly can and to make it fit. We’ve done this since Day 1. When we got here we had to make some very tough cap decisions with Cory Redding and Nate Burleson. They were two guys that we had a lot of respect for, but where we were on our cap at the time, we had to make decisions. And then we had a couple years without a cap and now we’re back in a world with a salary cap and we need to be cognizant of that.
“I say this all the time: We want to be a consistent championship-caliber football team, one that the community and the Northwest is extremely proud of every year and has high expectations and hopes for, and we have to be able to protect ourselves as we go and make smart decisions in trying to keep this whole thing together as long as we possibly can.”