Here is an outside the box thought, what if I told you that an MLB pitcher could’ve been arguably the best Wide Receiver in NFL history. It’s a wild thought but hear me out.
Calvin Johnson Jr. is arguably the best wide receiver to have ever played the game. He had the size, the speed, and some of the best hands I’ve ever seen. Being a die hard Packer fan my entire life, I hated when the Packers played the Lions. Even though the Lions have never really been the best team, they always had an X factor, and that was Megatron. It seemed that whatever got thrown his way, he would bring down and there was always the possibility of it being a touchdown, and it typically it ended up being a big play.
Megatron put up video game type numbers in the NFL and there is no doubt that he will be a first ballot hall of famer. But I got to thinking, there aren’t that many wide recievers that match up with Megatron’s size, speed, and hands. I did some digging and there was almost an identically built wide receiver that actually played in college the same time that he did. Megatron was an all-american wide out and so was the guy that i’m about to bring up. Both 6′ 5″, both ran about a 4.4 40 yard dash, and both put up huge numbers on the college gridiron.
Jeff Samardzija was an incredibly gifted athlete and still is today. He played his college ball at Notre Dame and excelled in two sports, football and baseball. He was an All-American in football as well as an All Big-East pitcher, and could have gone pro in both. He stopped playing football and decided to take his talents to the MLB after his senior year at Notre Dame. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Big deal there have been all sorts of talented wide outs in college that didn’t do shit in the NFL.” I generally agree with that statement, but I honestly think that Samardzija could’ve been right up there with Megatron if he had chose to play professional football instead of baseball.
Let’s take a look at both of their best college football seasons.
Jeff Samardzija hauled in 77 receptions for 1215 yards and 15 scores his junior season (2005). Now Calvin Johnson’s junior season he snagged 76 receptions for 1202 yards with 15 tuddies. Almost identical numbers, and both were All-Americans. Both are about 6′ 5″ 235, both ran 4.4 40 yard dashes (fast as fuck), and both had hands that could bring down anything thrown their direction. Samardzija was projected to go in the late first, or early second round in the 2007 NFL draft, and we all know that Calvin Johnson Jr. was drafted second overall.
The similarities of these two can really get your mind thinking, but I guess we’ll never know what could’ve been. I definitely think that Samardzija could have been a pro-bowl wide receiver and put up some big time numbers, but we’re only left to question that. All i’m saying is just think about it, maybe a MLB pitcher could’ve become an NFL great.
In the end Samardzija probably made the better financial decision to play baseball, being that he has made 128 million in the big leagues, and Megatron made 114 million. Regardless, those are some fat stacks and any regular Joe wouldn’t have any problem taking just 1% of those earnings.