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Jai Miller quits baseball to play college football at Alabama

Jan 7, 2013, 11:49 AM EDT

Jai Miller AP

Jai Miller, a 27-year-old outfielder who played briefly in the majors for the Royals, A’s, and Marlins, is quitting baseball to play college football at the University of Alabama.

Miller was the Marlins’ fourth-round pick out of high school in 2003 and opted for baseball over football then, but after 10 seasons in the minors and only 68 at-bats in the majors he’s making the switch.

Back in 2003 he had offers from numerous big-time football programs, including Alabama, and officially committed to Stanford before going pro as a baseball player. According to the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Miller is expected to play defensive back for Nick Saban.

  1. rockthered1286 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    It took TEN SEASONS of hanging in the minors to make this decision? Even if he is decent, he still has 3 years of NCAAFB before becoming NFL eligble, then one 4 year rookie contract and his career is all but over at that point.


    • proudlycanadian - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Obviously, he has decided to get a college degree. I applaud that decision.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        Yes, but let’s put that in parenthesis (“degree”), shall we? Still, good for him.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        Apparently there’s a lot of Bama fans on here…in which case, go ND!!!!

    • beavertonsteve - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Yeah, I’ll bet playing football at Alabama sucks. Who says he even has NFL talent? Sounds like a good way to earn a degree and play for a national championship.

    • zalbatt07 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      All you have to do is be out of highschool for 3 years. He is eligible for the NFL now if he were good enough

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        Thanks for clarifying Zalbatt. I thought it was age 20 or two years removed from high school.
        Either way…dude should be able to help Alabama out. 27 years old…still in good shape.
        Probably have to knock the rust off a bit but that degree would be wonderful.
        Good for him.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Red: I thought the eligibility requirements stipulate the person be at least 20 years old or two years removed from High School Football. No?

    • romoscollarbone - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Playing college football is not a requirement for the NFL. A prospect simply needs to be 3 yrs removed from HS.

      He could declare for the NFL draft this year, if he was so inclined.

    • truth115 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      The rule is you have to be removed from high school for 3 years… so he will be eligible right away for the NFL draft….

  2. Caught Looking - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    And I was just about to vote for him as cover boy for ‘MLB ’13 The Show’.

  3. ncm42 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    He’s wearing an O’s uni in the pic. Did he play for them too?

    • DJ MC - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      This past season he was in the Orioles system. He was supposed to be in the plans, but didn’t play well enough in the spring to earn a roster spot or in the minors to earn a call-up.

  4. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Little old to be banging cheerleaders & co-eds, no?

    • beavertonsteve - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      Ha, no way. I’d give him the green light until age 35 at least.

  5. coryfor3 - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    NFL or not this is a good opportunity for him. If you want a degree and to make some connections along the way you could do worse than this for sure. If he falls into an NFL opportunity and wants it, so be it. Otherwise he can get a degree, soak up the experience and opportunities and avoid the NFL headaches (literally)

  6. astrosfan75956 - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    How does he have amateur status after being paid as a pro athlete? I realize its a different sport so maybe I’m confused on the rule.

  7. patpatriot7 - Jan 8, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    “If you want a degree????” How many Alabama football players go there to get a degree? Obviously Alabama offered him more money.

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