Rangers draft Russell Wilson

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Could Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson be a two-sport star? Does he want to play baseball after his NFL career is finished?

The Texas Rangers made a surprise pick in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, normally an event that simply ends baseball's winter meetings with little fanfare.

On Thursday at Walt Disney World, the Rangers decided they wanted some of the Wilson magic on their team and selected the former second baseman, taking him from the Colorado Rockies system. It cost them $12,000 to do so, and he goes on the club's restricted list because he's in the NFL.

Wilson squashed any chance of being a two-sport star.

"I love baseball. It's a relaxing sport and a good sport. I've played it my whole life. But football is my first love," he said.

While he has no interest in pursuing a baseball career, Deion Sanders -- a former two-sport star -- thinks Wilson should take a look at it.

The Rangers know Wilson is settling in to a successful career as the signal-caller for a Super Bowl contender, but they like Wilson's character and athletic ability. Even if baseball isn't in Wilson's future, the Rangers want him around.

General manager Jon Daniels called Wilson -- impressed that the quarterback was working out at 6:30 a.m. PT, shortly after the Rangers made the pick -- and told him the club wasn't trying to distract him from his current job.

"We talk to our scouts about the makeup we want of our players and the work ethic it takes to win, and Russell Wilson has been an example of that," Daniels said. "He has off-the-charts character and focus.

"We want to be respectful of where he's at right now. I got a chance to talk to him, and he was excited. We wanted to welcome him to the organization and told him, 'Don't be insulted if you don't hear from us again until you're done playing because we don't want to get in the way of what you've got going on.'"

Wilson, however, expressed a desire to come to spring training and work out.

"I'm sure I'll go down there for spring training and just talk to some of their players and hang out some," Wilson said. "It'll be kinda cool. But that's down the road. I'm trying to win a game this week."

Daniels said the spring training invite is open-ended. If Wilson wants to do more than that, he certainly can.

"Everything you see and read about him and seeing him play on Sundays, you hear about the work ethic, the person," Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller said. "I think that's going to be a positive message for all of our players in our system, our coaches, everybody to have somebody like that around.

"At the end of the day, if he decides it's not something he wants to come back and do full time, just having him around, having him talk to a group, I think there's definitely positives in all that."

The Rangers scouted Wilson in high school and college and considered him to be an athletic second baseman. Preller described him as a player with "good hands, [is a] solid runner and a guy that we thought before the draft that could bounce around to different positions."

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