While doing some rare (for me) baseball research in preparation for guest-hosting The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, I remembered a player whom I was happy to see pick horsehide over pigskin, primarily since I could never remember how to spell his name properly.
Former Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija, projected to be a potential first-round draft pick in 2007, opted for baseball. Arguably promoted through the Cubs organization more quickly than his pitching talents justified, Samardzija has landed back in the minors.
Samardzija signed a five-year, $10 million contract in January 2007, the terms of which require him to return a $2.5 million signing bonus if at any time he leaves baseball for another sport. But the contract runs through 2011, with a team-held option for two more seasons.
Though Samardzija said at the time he won’t be returning to football, the possibility that the Cubs may choose not to extend the deal means that, after next season, he’ll be free and clear.
So once 2012 rolls around, Samardzija will need to ask himself whether he can make more money continuing to try to get back to the major leagues or taking a crack at football. Though he’ll be 27 at that point, he will have gone five years without the wear and tear on his body. (Then again, two years without wear and tear didn’t help Mike Vick very much.)
We’re guessing that Samardzija won’t play football again. But until he signs a new contract to keep playing baseball beyond 2011, there’s a chance that maybe he’ll return to football, especially if he has no other viable options.