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Cardinals relief pitcher a Houston Texan?

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by countingcrow, Nov 14, 2001.

  1. countingcrow

    countingcrow Contributing Member

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    ESPN Link to Article


    Cardinals pitcher ponders NFL career

    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com


    As was the case in each of the last two NFL drafts, the depth at quarterback for the 2002 lottery appears at first scrutiny to be thin, with no more than two prospects likely to rate as consensus potential first-round selections.

    But those franchises seeking help at the game's most critical position could benefit from a possible career change by a former college standout quarterback who was regarded by many scouts as a first-round prospect just a few years ago.

    ESPN.com has learned that former Stanford quarterback Chad Hutchinson, who bypassed his last two seasons of football eligibility to sign a lucrative baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998, will work out for scouts on Nov. 20. The session, which will be conducted at the University of California-San Diego, is an invitation-only audition and Hutchinson and his advisors have chosen teams that they feel might be in the market for a quarterback during the offseason.

    It is believed that personnel directors and scouts from six to 10 teams will attend the workout. The clubs selected are thought to include the expansion Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, among others. Two scouts contacted this week by ESPN.com acknowledged that they are still intrigued by Hutchinson and are anxious to see him throw after four seasons away from football.

    There is no certainty, even if the workout goes well, that Hutchinson will simply abandon his baseball career to pursue an NFL job.

    Said a source familiar with Hutchinson's situation: "This is a fact-finding session. It will be a chance for Chad to see just how interested people might be in him. No one knows yet what will come out of it. Maybe nothing but maybe something that could give Chad some options."

    Hutchinson, 24, started 23 games for Stanford in 1996 and '97, and completed 379 of 627 passes for 4,235 yards, with 22 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. He was the most valuable player in the '96 Sun Bowl game and, at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, has prototype size, pocket stature and arm strength. When he departed Stanford, football coach Tyrone Willingham allowed Hutchinson "very definitely" would have been a high-round pick in the NFL had he continued his football career.

    Instead he was chosen by the baseball Cardinals in the second round of the '98 draft, the 48th prospect selected overall, and signed a four-year, $3.5 million contract that included a $2.4 million signing bonus. Hutchinson had been chosen by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the '95 draft, but declined the team's $1.5 million signing bonus offer so that he could attend Stanford and play both sports.

    Hutchinson spent his first three baseball seasons in the minor leagues, where he posted impressive strikeout totals at every level but also exhibited long bouts of wildness, then made the Cardinals' opening-day roster in 2001. His stay in the major leagues, though, was brief, as he appeared in just three games and pitched only four innings.

    Once groomed to be St. Louis' closer of the future, he was 0-3 with an earned-run average of 24.75, and he allowed nine hits, six walks and 11 earned runs. Hutchinson returned to the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, in April.

    He immediately moved into the starting rotation at Memphis, then to the bullpen later in the year, but finished the season on the disabled list. It marked the second straight year in which he spent time on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow.

    Because of his time away from football, Hutchinson would not have to be drafted, and instead a team could simply sign him as a free agent. Any team signing him, though, would have to count Hutchinson against its rookie pool allocation in 2002. That might favor Houston, if he decides to pursue a football career, since the Texans figure to have a large rookie budget because of the extra choices they will have in the '02 draft.
     
  2. Hey Now!

    Hey Now! Contributing Member

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    it's interesting, because, theoretically, they could sign him outright december 27. i see he's set to work out november 20... i can't see a team signing him that late in the season, though they may to keep him out of houston.

    but man, if this guy's for real, and houston could snag him... wow. getting a QB in place, especially before the FA signing period and draft, is such a key. and it also means mckinnie would probably jump ahead of peppers on the texans' wish list.
     

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