Mike Flacco, brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, is considering giving up his baseball career to attempt to play in the NFL (Todd Plitt/USA TODAY)
BRIDGEWATER (USA TODAY) - The little guy drew a walk and trotted to first base, where Mike Flacco was waiting to hold him on and to engage in the traditional small talk between runner and first baseman.
Flacco didn't realize the irony of the exchange until a few years later.
"Your brother is a great quarterback," the runner said.
"OK, cool," Flacco replied.
Russell Wilson then stepped off the bag, and eventually away from baseball, back to a football career with Wisconsin and later the NFL, where he just completed a sensational rookie season quarterbacking the Seattle Seahawks.
Flacco recounted the conversation with Wilson last week while sitting on a weight bench at TEST Sports Clubs, a place NFL hopefuls and current players visit each year to train. Flacco had just gone through three-cone drills and other football-related exercises with cornerbacks, linebackers and linemen. Wearing Baltimore Ravens shorts he received from older brother Joe, he held his own. In fact, matched the exact three-cone time (7.62 seconds) Joe posted on the first day of training at TEST.
Joe Flacco will play in the Super Bowl Sunday with more than 100 million people watching the former Audubon High School and University of Delaware star on the NFL's biggest stage.
Mike Flacco, an infielder and outfielder at the Class-A and Double-A levels in the Baltimore Orioles' farm system, still hopes he'll one day play in the World Series.
But Mike turned 26 this month. His baseball career, which began with his getting drafted in the 31st round in 2009, is lagging after a disappointing season (a .214 batting average and only eight home runs in 107 games). and he admits his love for the game has dwindled a bit. He's put on nearly 30 pounds of muscle to get to 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, the size of an NFL tight end. He hasn't played football since high school, but he thinks he has the ability to make it happen - and the surname to get a look.
If Wilson, Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and former Carolina Panthers QB Chris Weinke can return to football after first taking a swing at baseball, why can't he?