Flacco says he was always a football guy, played baseball for fun

When Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was heading into his senior year at Delaware, the former prep state championship pitcher from New Jersey wanted to play baseball that spring.

Ultimately, Flacco was persuaded by Delaware football coach K.C. Keeler that he should concentrate on spring football instead of spending his time on the baseball diamond.

That was sound advice considering that Flacco wound up being a first-round draft pick one year later after a record-setting senior season.

Five years later, Flacco has quarterbacked the Ravens into the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers. He has thrown eight touchdown passes with zero interceptions in three playoff victories, outdueling Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

So, was Flacco's dalliance with baseball a case of him not being aware of his burgeoning NFL prospects? Or just something he wanted to do for enjoyment?

According to Flacco, it was the latter, having grown up in Audubon, N.J., and always playing both football and baseball as a towering pitcher at 6-6, 245 pounds.

Flacco also played basketball in high school. His father, Stephen, played both football and baseball at the University of Pennsylvania. And his younger brother, Mike, was drafted by the Orioles in the 31st round of the 2009 draft.

"Always," Flacco said this week when asked if he ever thought he would be a Super Bowl quarterback back when he was thinking about playing baseball. "K.C. mispresents that. I just wanted to play baseball because I liked baseball. I never was giving up on football. I always had a lot of confidence in my ability there. I just wanted to have a little bit of fun.

"It was one of the things that I looked at in schools when I was coming out of high school, but always. I think it is just one of those things you dream of when you are a little kid. You watch [Joe] Montana and those guys light them up in the Super Bowl. So, to be here at this point is pretty special.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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