NFL's Brandon Magee thinks he can make Red Sox: 'If I focus on this, that's not even a concern'

Mike Petraglia
March 30, 2015 - 9:40 am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Give Brandon Magee this much: He's not afraid of failing. The linebacker who was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week is vowing to give his full commitment to the Red Sox, the team that saw his talent on the other side of the field at Arizona State, as an outfielder. All of this despite not having played in a competitive game on the diamond since 2011, his junior year at college. The Red Sox drafted Magee in the tenth round of the 2012 draft. But instead of choosing baseball, the two-sport star at ASU chose to focus on his NFL dreams. He's gotten a taste of it with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns before his release last week by the Bucs. He arrived at the Red Sox complex on Sunday, with his only goal of listening to coaches and taking directions. "As of right now, I don't even know exactly what I'm going to do next week," Magee said. "I'm just taking it day by day and see where it goes." Few athletes have been able to pull off what Magee is pursuing. There's Deion Sanders in baseball and football. Michael Jordan gave baseball a shot while cooling his Hall of Fame basketball heels. But perhaps the most successful of all of the two-sport stars of the modern era is Bo Jackson. And Bo knows Brandon. Or, more to the point, Brandon has met and talked to Bo. Last spring, Jackson paid a visit to Fort Myers to chat with Magee. "He's a great guy," Magee said. "He's been here before and he's an encouragement all the time I've talked to him. He's just encouraged me to stay humble and keep working hard. Try to outwork everybody out here. That's his main key." What was Bo's advice on trying to play two sports? "You've got to get more flexible, he says all the time," said Magee. "That, and he tells me how to handle myself when I'm out of here and how to conduct yourself with women. We talk about life, man. It's really cool." Of course, Jackson wasn't the only baseball star he met in the spring of '14. "Last year, I met David Ortiz in the weight room," Magee said. "That was pretty cool. Dustin Pedroia, that was the first baseball player I met at ASU," Magee said. "[Daniel] Nava teaches me a lot about hitting. I watch him hit all the time. Any time I get an opportunity to watch big leaguers hit, it's really exciting. It's pretty cool." Magee wonders often what might have been had he just chosen to stick to baseball in college. "Oh yeah, I'm very curious," Magee said. "Hey, that's why I'm out here, trying to make the best of my opportunities. I'm blessed to play two sports. Anything I put my mind to, I could become successful at. We'll see how it goes." But don't confuse the wonder with doubt in Magee's mind. He's convinced that if he sticks to baseball, he can eventually make the Red Sox big league roster. "If I focus on this, I can make it. That's not even a concern," Magee said. But that IF is the big variable. Magee's agent Blake Baratz told earlier this week that his client is still "100 percent committed to playing in the NFL." "Right now, I go with the flow," Magee said. "Just wait and see what happens, fellas. I'll just focus on baseball right now."