The heart of the Yankees' lineup features a pair of towering sluggers who would look right at home on the gridiron in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and now the Bombers have added a championship-caliber quarterback to their clubhouse.
The Yankees announced on Wednesday that they acquired Russell Wilson, best known as the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, from the Texas Rangers in exchange for future considerations.
Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia had this to say on Twitter:
Wilson, who participated in workouts as a second baseman at the Rangers' Spring Training camps in both 2014 and '15, is expected to appear at the Yankees' camp in March.
"We've admired Russell's career from afar for quite some time. This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession. After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season."
- Brian Cashman
Wilson, 29, is a four-time Pro Bowler who helped lead Seattle to its lone Super Bowl title in 2014. Wilson does not plan to become a dual-sport athlete full-time, but he has remained engaged with baseball while becoming a star on the gridiron.
The Richmond, Va., native had expressed a desire to don the pinstripes, spurring Yankees general manger Brian Cashman to reach out to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.
"The reason this is so special to me is that I used to always tell my dad I always wanted to be a Yankee," said Wilson, whose father passed away in 2010. "I said to him, 'Someday, Dad, I will be a Yankee.' And so now that dream has come true -- a little bit. My main, No. 1 focus is winning Super Bowls and winning football games. But the reality is that baseball has always been a major part of my life, and I couldn't be happier to be keeping that alive with the Yankees."
"I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers for giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again. I remember how excited I was when Texas selected me in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013. During my two springs in Arizona with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game of baseball."
Wilson manned second base for two seasons in the Rockies' Minor League system after Colorado made him a fourth-round Draft selection out of North Carolina State in 2010. He hit a combined .229 over 93 games in Class A ball from 2010-11. The Rangers selected Wilson in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013, and the talented athlete made Cactus League cameos during the following two springs.
While he is in Tampa, Wilson will participate in pregame workouts with the club and watch games from the Yankees' dugout. He will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.
The Yankees have had strong connections to football players going back to the days of George Halas manning right field for them prior to Babe Ruth. More recently, former Cowboys quarterback Drew Henson and Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders both played for the Yankees at the Major League level, while two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback John Elway played for them in the Minors. Additionally, the Yankees drafted Heisman trophy winners Bo Jackson and Charlie Ward, though neither of them signed with New York.