New trick for old Dawg — football
As he was slogging through baseball's minor leagues for eight years, Tripper Johnson never forgot about football. "It's always been my dream...
Seattle Times staff reporter
As he was slogging through baseball's minor leagues for eight years, Tripper Johnson never forgot about football.
"It's always been my dream to play college football," said the former three-sport star at Bellevue's Newport High School.
He might be about to fulfill that dream.
Johnson said Friday that with his baseball career at a standstill, he has sent in an application to Washington and if accepted, will enroll in the spring quarter and walk on to the football team.
The 6-foot-1 200-pounder, who turns 26 on April 28, said he has talked with coach Tyrone Willingham about his plans and that he would likely start out as a safety. UW officials can't comment until he enrolls.
Johnson was first team All-KingCo 3A Conference defensive back and second team as a running back as a senior in 1999. He was The Seattle Times Eastside Male Athlete of the Year in 1999-2000 after being named All-KingCo in football, basketball and baseball.
He said he was recruited to play football by Rick Neuheisel but wanted to play baseball, too. He signed a baseball letter of intent with UW but was taken in the first round of the 2000 baseball draft by Baltimore (32nd overall pick) and signed with the Orioles for a reported $1.5 million.
He spent eight years in the minors, playing third base, but never rose above Class AA. His best season was in 2004, when he had 21 homers and 74 runs batted in with a .269 average in Class A.
"I thought at 25 I'd be in the big leagues," he said. "But you just never know how things are going to work out.
"My intention right now is to go play football for four years."
But Johnson said he isn't closing the door on baseball.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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