Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson opened up about why he wanted to join the Yankees, saying he was able to fulfill a promise to his father in doing so.
"The reason this is so special to me," Wilson told The MMQB's Peter King, "is that I used to always tell my dad I always wanted to be a Yankee. I said to him, 'Some day, Dad, I will be a Yankee.' And so now that dream has come true -- a little bit. My main, No. 1 focus is winning Super Bowls and winning football games. But the reality is that baseball has always been a major part of my life, and I couldn't be happier to be keeping that alive with the Yankees."
The Yankees acquired the 29-year-old Super Bowl champion from the Texas Rangers on Wednesday for future considerations. Wilson is expected to join the team in Tampa, Florida, between February and March and participate in pregame workouts and watch games from the dugout.
Wilson, originally a Rockies fourth-round pick in 2010, joined the Rangers organization in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft and made spring training appearances at camp in 2014 and 2015.
Though he turned his focus from baseball to football, he kept his late father, Harrison, and his great uncle, Al, in mind when getting the opportunity to join the Yankees.
Wilson recounted memories of Harrison hitting grounders to him and his brother and then throwing spirals before school as a kid. Wilson said Derek Jeter was his favorite baseball player, his favorite memory Jeter's flip play in the 2001 ALDS.
"I used to practice that play," Wilson said. "I can still see it today."
Technically, Wilson was assigned to Double-A Trenton but knows he isn't switching from football to baseball full-time. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the acquisition of Wilson allows Yankees players "to learn from an extroadinary [athlete] who has reached the pinnacle of his profession."
Wilson has a career .229/.354/.356 batting line with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 93 games at the Class-A level in 2010 and 2011.
But with the Seahawks, Wilson has started each game over the past six seasons, throwing for a league-high 34 touchdowns in 2017 as Seattle went 9-7. Wilson has a 65-30-1 career record since debuting in 2012 with 22,176 passing yards, 161 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and 3,275 career rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.
"I never want to kill the dream of playing two sports," he told HBO's "Real Sports" in a 2015 interview.