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Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper picks football over baseball

Jan 26, 2010, 11:48 AM EDT

Riley Cooper was picked by the Rangers in the 25th round of last June’s draft as an outfielder at the University of Florida, but he was also Tim Tebow’s second-favorite target as a wide receiver for the Gators and said yesterday that he plans to pursue a football career:

Football’s definitely the route I want to take. Toward the last couple of weeks of the football season, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. That’s my makeup, my mentality. I’m just a football player, not a baseball player.

While many two-sport stars have chosen baseball over football, Cooper’s decision seems like a no-brainer given that he’s projected to go in the fourth round of the NFL draft. He was set to get a $250,000 bonus from the Rangers, but last year the average fourth-round pick in the NFL got a bonus of around $450,000 as part of a package worth about $2.25 million.
Along those same lines, if I were a fourth-round pick as a baseball blogger (overdraft!) and a 25th-round pick as a male model (underdraft!) I’d probably have to give up my career of being sexy. In this case the decision is doubly easy because in addition to being a significantly higher pick in football, Cooper will be in the NFL next season whereas it would take him at least a few years to advance through the minors before joining the Rangers (and there’s a strong chance he’d never get there).
Higher pick, quicker path, and more immediate money. Good luck on Sundays.

  1. (Not That) Tom - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    The scouting reports on Cooper are pretty positive: deceptive speed, good hands, gritty team player, a true Wes Welker-type.

  2. Grant - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    There’s less chance of catastrophic brain injury with a baseball career, though.

  3. (Not That) Tom - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Less public outcry if you’re caught doping, though.

  4. GimmeSomeSteel - Jan 26, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    “deceptive speed, good hands, gritty team player”–Describes a lot of white guys. Only white guys (preferably undersized) are allowed to be described as “gritty”. At least, I’ve never seen a black or Latino player described that way.
    He is pretty good for a college WR and I wish him well in the NFL. If he doesn’t make it there, he could still go back to baseball.

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