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Red Sox outfielder Shaq Thompson to pursue football full-time

06.24.13 at 6:12 pm ET
Shaq Thompson (Red Sox)

Shaq Thompson (Red Sox)

Outfielder Shaq Thompson, whom the Red Sox drafted in the 18th round of the 2012 draft — despite the fact that he was incredibly raw after having not played baseball from sixth grade until he resumed the sport as a high school senior — has decided to stop pursuing a baseball career in order to dedicate himself fully to the pursuit of a football career.

Thompson made his pro baseball debut in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League last summer, garnering some infamy by going 0-for-39 with 37 strikeouts. Still, even after a spectacular freshman football season at the University of Washington in which he displayed game-changing talent at linebacker, Thompson spent his spring break attending spring training with the Red Sox in Fort Myers, splitting his days between his course work and baseball.

“I just still had love for the game. I wanted to get back into it, see how far I could get, see how well I could do. I still have passion for baseball,” Thompson said in March of his decision to continue pursuing baseball. “[The first pro experience] was tough. Taking those years, I didn’t know how much that would affect your baseball skills. I thought you could take those years off and just get back into it. But I found out the hard way that you couldn’t.

“[But] I was thinking baseball is something I want to keep pursuing, come back here with these great guys I played with, great personalities [who are] fun to be around. They make you laugh everyday,” he added. “I just really enjoy it.”

However, it appears that he had a change of heart this summer, something that is perhaps not shocking given that he is viewed as a very promising NFL prospect, and that the distance that he had to go in order to become a viable baseball prospect was considerable.

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