Former Baylor basketball star signs with Seahawks - the outrage will equal Tim Tebow's, right?!
Interesting news out of the world of sports on late Thursday, as Mark Vital, a starter on Baylor's national championship team this past spring has signed... with a professional football team.
Late in the afternoon, it was announced that Vital - who averaged a team-best 6.7 rebounds on the Bears' national title team in April - signed with the Seahawks. He will get a shot to make the team as a tight end.
To be blunt, this news isn't all that shocking. And it's certainly not without precedent.
One, if you just watched Vital play basketball last year, he has the build of a tight end and very much played like one as well. He was listed at 6'5, 250 lbs. on Baylor's roster last season.
The news also isn't shocking because, after a quick browse of Vital's Instagram feed, it's clear he's been training for an attempt at an NFL career. Good for him, we all wish him luck.
Finally, the move has plenty of precedent as this isn't the first time a former Baylor basketball star with no football background has taken a shot at the NFL. Rico Gathers played four years in the NFL, after playing hoops at Baylor.
Still, the news is interesting for one reason: Remember, oh, I don't know, just a few weeks ago, when half of the sports world was up in arms that Tim Tebow also signed as a free agent, attempting to make the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end?
Remember all the takes that started flying? That he was taking shots away from "legitimate" tight ends? That it was about privlidge?
Of course Tebow was ultimately a guy who actually spent most of his career playing football (even if he was away for a few years). And like Vital, signed a one-year deal that would be easy for the Jaguars to get out of if he couldn't play.
Which the Jaguars did by cutting him a few weeks ago.
Ultimately it was idiotic, and anyone who follows my work knows I said as much.
One, people were acting like Jacksonville signed Tebow to a lifetime contract, or one that guaranteed him 10's of millions of dollars. Again, it was a one-year contract with basically no guarantees. And now, because he stunk as a tight end, Tebow is back at ESPN ready for another college football season.
Beyond that, I referenced at the time, there are plenty of examples of guys who return to the game after being away from the game for a while. Pete Carroll (ironically enough based on today's news) brought in one of his former stars at USC, Mike Williams, when he arrived at Seattle. Williams had been out of football for several years at the time. Not to mention plenty of other guys get a shot, having never played football at all. Antonio Gates, Gathers and now Vital are all examples of that.
Therefore, the idea that a team would sign someone who has been out of football for a few years, or has never played at all, isn't insane. Unless you're an angry person on Twitter.
Regardless, this is all a long-winded way of me saying, I wish Rico Gathers nothing but the best. Everyone around Baylor loved the guy last year, and he has clearly done something to impress that coaching staff.
At the same time, I hope the same folks who were furious about Tim Tebow's signing, express the same outrage with this news.
It's only fair, right?
If you missed anything I said on the subject, you can listen to this segment from the Aaron Torres Podcast below: