Chicago Cubs: Former NFL star Antwaan Randle El wishes he played baseball instead

Jun 12, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans wait in the rain before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans wait in the rain before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

If you were able to turn back time in order to pursue another career opportunity, would you do it? For some, this is an easy question to answer while most would take the chance to relive everything all over again.

For former National League Football wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, the reality of living life after football is starting to become more difficult after spending nine years as a professional athlete.

But before he entered the world of hard knocks, the retired 36-year-old was drafted 424th overall by the Chicago Cubs during the 1997 Major League Baseball draft. This isn’t the first time a football player was drafted by a professional baseball team.

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For those of you who don’t know, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was also drafted by the Cubs but chose pads over a baseball cap and glove. Obviously, the guy was a pitcher who had the speed to burn defensive players on the gridiron.

Even current Chicago Bears offensive tackle and three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long was drafted by the Chicago White Sox as a pitcher.

We’re all aware of the problems former football players have had over the past decade since calling it a career. From memory loss to basic mobility issues and or even suicide, the league has cracked down on making things safer for their employees who put their bodies on the line.

Actor Will Smith starred in the movie ‘Concussion’ about Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovered a similar disease to Alzheimer’s which he named ‘chronic traumatic encephalopathy’ or CTE for short. I’m not saying that this is what may be happening to Randle El, but it’s something to keep in mind as time goes on.

Now according to Washington Post via Pittsburgh-Gazette, Randle El commented on the thought of playing baseball when he had the chance while confessing his love for the sport that brought him a Super Bowl title with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2005 before he found himself in Washington.

"“If I could go back, I wouldn’t play football. I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But right now, I could still be playing baseball.”"

Antwaan, a fan of the Chicago Bears growing up, was born in Riverdale, Illinois and later attended Thorton Township in Harvey which is a suburb of the Windy City.

When looking back at the 1997 draft, Randle El was in a pool that will feature future All-Stars and Hall of Fame players. Guys such as Troy Glaus, J.D. Drew, Vernon Wells, Michael Cuddyer, Lance Berkman, Jayson Werth were all first-round picks that year.

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Still, he’s the only wide receiver in Super Bowl history to throw a touchdown pass. He hooked up with Hines Ward on a 43-yard TD to add to his five receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown reception of his own.

In those nine years between the Steelers and Redskins, he won the AFC Championship twice, played 143 games with 370 receptions, 4,467 yards, 15 touchdowns as a wide-out. He also had a combined 4,016 return yards and six touchdowns on top of 323 passing yards with six touchdown tosses.

Watching him on the field was great, but we can only imagine what kind of baseball player he would have eventually turned out to be if he decided to stay on that path.