Jeff Samardzija was a two-sport star and would’ve been taken early in the NFL draft if he stuck with football at Notre Dame. The Cubs drafted him, though, and paid him handsomely to give up football. The rest is Cubs/A’s/White Sox/Giants history.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com spoke with Samardzija recently, and he reflected on choosing baseball over football. Specifically, he reflected on the fact that almost everyone from the draft class he would’ve been in are either out of the NFL or soon will be, while he’s under contract for three more years at $18 million per and could, theoretically, pitch way longer than that:
“Marcedes Lewis,” Samardzija said of the Jacksonville Jaguars tight end. “[Brian] Cushing — I played against him. … Clay Matthews … Donte Whitner — I loved playing against him at Ohio State. Arian Foster was another guy. He’s done.
“They’re all done. Or if they’re still there, they’re on their way out. And I just signed my new deal. … Knock on wood, my body’s not telling me, ‘Hey, you can’t do this.'”
He has a lot of interesting things to say about football, which was far more of a focus for him growing up than baseball was. Most entertainingly, he talks about how he still — after a ten-year big league career in which he’s already made over $60 million and is still going strong — gets people telling him he was dumb to pick baseball over football.
Go read the article to hear his response to that. It’s not totally based on the money, and it makes a lot of sense.