By John Boyle
Bo Jackson, one of the most accomplished two-sport professional athletes in history, has this advice for Russell Wilson should the Seahawks quarterback ever seriously consider a return to baseball.
“Stick to what got (Wilson) in the headlines, not baseball,” Jackson told CNS Chicago. “Twenty-five or 30 years ago when I did it, I’m not trying to say anything negative about other athletes, but the talent pool wasn’t that deep. In this day in age, with all the high-tech training, computer-engineered workouts and the proper food and diet, if you try to concentrate on two sports, I guarantee you’re going to ride the bench in both because the talent is that deep. Stick to whatever sport you’re comfortable with and let everything else go.”
As Jackson notes, sports are more specialized now than when he was a two-sport star at Auburn, then as a running back for the Oakland Raiders and outfielder for the Kansas City Royals. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes of his, or any, generation, yet even Jackson concedes he probably couldn’t do now what he was able to in his prime.
“I probably couldn’t, no,” Jackson said. “Just because the talent pool is that deep now. If my kids want to do both sports – ‘No. No. No.’ … If you try to do both you’re going to be riding the bench in both. You’ll never get to that level that you want to get to if you split your time between multiple sports.”
Wilson of course spent a day of spring training with the Texas Rangers, who selected him in December’s Rule 5 draft, knowing full well Wilson had no intention of actually getting back into baseball. While playing for N.C. State, Wilson was also a second baseman in the Colorado Rockies’ organization, but gave up baseball to focus on football during one season at Wisconsin.