Pete Carroll comfortable with Russell Wilson playing baseball in offseason

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is comfortable with quarterback Russell Wilson playing baseball during the offseason.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has had a unique offseason, spending some of his down time from the National Football League taking up another hobby, the sport of professional baseball for one of the foremost franchises in the game, the New York Yankees.

Wilson, 29, has maintained a strong connection to the game of baseball during his offseasons and on February 7, was traded to the Yankees from the Texas Rangers, which gave him the opportunity to fulfill his goal of playing for “The Bronx Bombers.”

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“I think it’s awesome,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told media at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s going to be working out and doing something anyway and reports are he’s in impeccable condition. He’s extraordinarily dedicated to doing everything he can to be right.

“He’s playing ball, playing baseball, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. The focus that it takes to play at this level, whether it’s baseball or basketball or football, to compete at that level and the mentality you have to be at, I think it’s only enriching, so I’ve got no problem with that.”

New York Yankees infielder Russell Wilson (73) takes ground balls prior to the spring-training game against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Kim Klement, Custom

While Wilson has no designs on becoming a next-generation Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders, he is still doing what can be done to improve himself as an athlete, and Carroll volunteered some advice while speaking to the media.

“So far, he’s not doing a great job with the pitches going away from him,” Carroll said. “We’re hoping he’s going to start putting the ball into right field a little bit more and going with the pitch, but aside from that, the curveball is still giving him problems like it always did back in the day, so we’ll see what happens.”

A four-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Seahawks, Wilson has completed 1,815 of his 2,834 career attempts (64 percent) for 22,176 yards and 161 touchdowns against 56 interceptions. He has completed 314 passes of at least 20 yards and 61 40-yard throws during his six years in Seattle.

Additionally, as a quarterback running a read-option offense, Wilson has rushed for 3,275 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wilson has 21 20-yard rushers and three 40-yard scampers to his credit.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (73) fields ground balls during practice with the New York Yankees before a spring-training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Butch Dill, Custom

During the 2017 season, Wilson matched a personal best with 34 touchdowns, but his 11 interceptions also matched a previous high. Despite the fact that Wilson completed a career-low 61.3 percent of his 553 throws last fall, Carroll is confident his franchise quarterback will be a much better passer in the years ahead.

“Just keep growing, just keep getting better,” Carroll said. “I’ve said this for a couple years now that I think one of these years, he’s going to be a 70-percent completion guy, and that just means he’s cleaned things up a little bit more, just being more efficient and more precise. He’s grown so much, and he’s so much more aware than he was in earlier years, but this is the process that it takes.

“Every one of these years is another opportunity to grow, and he’s been compared to the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in this league, and we always look at them when they’re in Year 13 or 14 or 11. He’s not even there yet. He’s halfway to that kind of a number. I think there’s tremendous upside and I know he thinks that too. He’s looking forward to getting better and finding his way to contribute in a bigger way and be a bigger factor.”