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Friday, March 21, 2014
Sorry, Bo: Thomas likes the two-sport star

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- Baseball Hall of Famer and former college football tight end Frank Thomas doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye with Bo Jackson, one of the greatest two-sport athletes of their generation.

Thomas
While Jackson said earlier this week that playing two professional sports these days would put somebody on the bench in both, Thomas wasn't so closed to the idea. The subject came up after Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spent a day in Texas Rangers camp earlier this spring.

"I heard it but I don't agree; I love Bo to death, but I don't agree," Thomas said Friday on "Lunch With a Legend" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "Russell Wilson just accomplished what he might not ever do again as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. To have a chance at baseball, he'd probably make a lot more money with the way the salaries are going right now than as an undersized quarterback.

"It's something for his agent to weigh, and I'm sure they are doing it right now just to get his value up on the football field."

Jackson has been in camp this week as a guest instructor for the White Sox. During his playing days, he was an All-Star in baseball and made the Pro Bowl in the NFL, and when looking at the professional sports landscape now, he just doesn't think a two-sport athlete would flourish.

"Stick to what got (Wilson) in the headlines, not baseball," Jackson told reporters from White Sox camp in Arizona. "Twenty-five or 30 years ago when I did it, I'm not trying to say anything negative about other athletes, but the talent pool wasn't that deep.

"In this day and age, with all the high-tech training, computer-engineered workouts and the proper food and diet, if you try to concentrate on two sports, I guarantee you're going to ride the bench in both because the talent is that deep. Stick to whatever sport you're comfortable with and let everything else go."

Wilson has said he has every intention to stick with football, but Thomas thinks that if he does get the itch, it might not be a bad idea to scratch it.

"As a quarterback, they're protected day in and day out," Thomas said. "They're not taking the punishment that Bo had to take as a running back. As a quarterback in that position, and as a second baseman, it's something to think about. John Elway did it."

Thomas played tight end at Auburn University and said he realized by his junior year that baseball was the better route for him.

"I was facing Aundray Bruce every day in the trenches (at practice) and it wasn't pretty," Thomas said. "He was the No. 1 pick in that draft and I had to face him every day. He was one of the meanest, dirtiest junkyard dogs I ever met in my life and I had to face him every day. But it was great for me because it helped me to build character. When I got to the baseball field I thought it very easy."