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Red Sox outfielder Shaq Thompson to pursue football full-time

06.24.13 at 6:12 pm ET

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.

‘€œI 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. ‘€œ[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.

‘€œ[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. ‘€œI 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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