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Bo Jackson tells would-be two-sport athletes to stick to one sport

Mar 18, 2014, 4:38 PM EDT

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Bo Jackson, who along with Deion Sanders was one of the most famous and accomplished two sport athletes of all time, has some advice for Russell Wilson or anyone else who thinks they can play baseball and football: Don’t. Indeed, he doesn’t think he could do it if he came up today. From Dan Hayes of

“I probably couldn’t, no,” Jackson said. “Just because the talent pool is that deep now. If my kids want to do both sports – ‘No. No. No.’ … If you try to do both you’re going to be riding the bench in both. You’ll never get to that level that you want to get to if you split your time between multiple sports.”

Jackson says the training is too specialized and intense. The time commitment too great. And most especially the talent pool is so deep that if you don’t focus all of your effort on one sport you have no chance at all.

Which is just another amazing thing about Bo Jackson. In addition to everything he accomplished, he’s one of the few aging athletes who doesn’t think everything was tougher back in his day and the athletes today are too soft and stuff. He’s a regular Herman Jacobs.


  1. tfbuckfutter - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I’m actually pretty sure Bo Jackson could play for both the Royals and Raiders today.

    Even at 51.

  2. scatterbrian - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Wow, his humility and self-awareness are refreshing.

  3. bigharold - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Ah, Ducky Lead Legs Cronin, .. those were the days.

  4. gibbyfan - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Bo was truly an awesome athlete . Doubt thre will be anyone like him for some time to come……Was glad to have a chance to see him play and If it were not for his injury I too would not be surprised to see him still able to take the field. As a Raider, he ws flat out from another world with is speed and raw power….not sure anybody had a better arm.

  5. stlouis1baseball - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    I love Bo Jackson. I have always loved Bo Jackson. I will continue to always love Bo Jackson.
    Although (in this instance)…Bo doesn’t know Bo. Cause’ Bo could play….today.

  6. mybrunoblog - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Bo may be right but from a marketing standpoint a two sport athlete could really make a fortune. The issue is that the athlete has to be so gifted as to be able to excel at two sports not just play two sports. There probably a handful of MLB players who could play other sports or vice versa but they could never excel and be an all star in two sports like Bo was.

  7. missingdiz - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Bo was great. I wish we could have seen what he would have done had he focused on baseball, which would have meant avoiding the injury that ultimately ended both careers. As to Sanders, Brian Jordan was a better baseball player.

    • gibbyfan - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:59 PM

      Your right about the football injury.but he was a better football player than baseball player…..Had he just played football and not been injured there is no telling what records he might have set…….

      • missingdiz - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Well, you may be right. It’s just that I don’t care about football. But I think if Bo had learned baseball fundamentals at an early age and simply played more, he would have been a better baseball player. I think he could have been one of the greatest ever.

      • yahmule - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        He would have set no records, except most games asked out of with tight quads. Marcus Allen wasn’t half the athlete, but he was twice the football player.

      • rogersjd16 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        Based on what??? Disagree. 1 time All Star, 1 time Pro Bowler. He had one very good season in each sport, but was more consistent in baseball doing something that’s harder, hitting a baseball. If he doesn’t get hurt and concentrates on just baseball there’s no telling how good he could have been at hardball either. His build and speed don’t automatically make him a better football player. In fact, it probably highlights how good he was at baseball given a non-traditional build for the sport.

  8. djandujar - Mar 18, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Bo knows.

  9. ggallin4evr - Mar 18, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    If Alan Wiggins could play with AIDS, then Bo could play with herpes. Yahoo!

  10. stupidusername - Mar 18, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Very humble response by Bo. I agree with saying others should stick to one, but Bo was like no other.

  11. hardkor07mn - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    When Bo knocked Brian Bosworth into next week was simply AWESOME!

    • nolanwiffle - Mar 20, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      Bosworth was undoubtedly a turd, but you need to watch that play again. Bosworth was trying to shed a block while moving laterally. He then took on Bo Jackson who had a full head of steam.

      What linebacker wouldn’t have been steamrolled? And Bosworth is still a turd.

  12. ravensfan8780 - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    I get exactly what Bo is saying, when I was in high school I played basketball but I wanted to play baseball as well. Basketball coach didn’t want me playing baseball because we were basically a year around program with Summer league and Spring practices. He’s right about practices and things being more specialized. It’s not like the days when my dad played when you just mainly played during the season and played multiple sports through out the course of the year.

    • jm91rs - Mar 19, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      I told my soccer coach to go to hell when he told me I couldn’t keep playing both baseball and soccer. Of course I was pretty lousy at soccer and he was probably hoping I would tell him off. Then my baseball coach tried to tell me the same thing and I think he was a little disappointed when I told him I had decided to commit myself full time to baseball. I call that the year I realized I would be a normal person and not a professional athlete.

  13. stlouis1baseball - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    I played 3 sports. Football, Wrestling and Baseball. I found that each one complimented the other.
    It was a different time (graduated in 90) and things were far less specialized. I went to wrestling and football camps in the Summer (when not playing Summer baseball)…but that was it.

  14. dfj79 - Mar 19, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    No Bo Jackson post is ever complete without:

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