Tennessee Titans stud wideout A.J. Brown not only is familiar with catching touchdowns, he’s also been pretty adept at catching fly balls. Brown was a two-sport athlete during his high-school years and his freshman season at Ole Miss.
He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, but he chose football.
With the Titans season over after the team’s upset in the divisional round, Brown hinted in a Tweet that he wants that old thing back.
He's cooking! 👨🏾🍳 @1kalwaysopen_
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 22, 2022
“Sometimes I think about playing both sports again @Padres all I need is a shot. I still got [sunglass emoji]. I promise I’ll do better than Michael Jordan in baseball”
Brown was good enough to get drafted and attend minor league camp in Arizona, effectively ending his amateur status in baseball. Michael Jordan actually made it to AA ball in the minors, and for someone with no prior professional baseball experience, that’s unheard of.
Brown Was Ranked High Coming Out Of HS: UA All American In Two Sports
During his recruiting cycle, Brown was a four-star wide receiver, and the 36th-ranked player in the country. He excelled on the diamond, ranking as the No. 50 outfielder in the country by Baseball Factory. He was known as a smooth-hitting outfielder who batted .360 as a senior at nearby Starkville High School. For his efforts, he was named an Under Armour All-American in both sports.
— Ben Garrett (@SpiritBen) February 3, 2016
Brown excelled in both at Ole Miss, but ultimately football won out. At 6’2 and 225 pounds, Brown is physically imposing, and he’s able to use that size and strength to manhandle defensive backs.
AJ Brown is heating up!🔥
@Brown1arthur | #NFLRebels
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) January 10, 2021
Why He Choose Football Over Baseball
Brown made the right decision for his professional career: Choosing the gridiron over the diamond, following in the footsteps of other former two-way stars like Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and John Elway.
Brown has become an NFL Pro Bowler, after being named First-team All-SEC after his sophomore and junior seasons in college. He has a pattern of excellence that is consistent at every level, which makes people take his Tweet seriously. With his past experience in baseball, why couldn’t Brown make the transition?
In an interview with John Glennon of The Athletic, Brown said he fell out of love with baseball.
“I was really a good hitter, so that was the fun part about baseball for me, the hitting part. The game is just so slow. That’s probably why I fell out of love with it. With football, there’s something you’re doing every play. I mean, who doesn’t like scoring touchdowns?”
Brown acknowledged that making it to the majors is much harder than making it the NFL.
“I just know it’s a slower grind in baseball. It’s not everyday that people get to the big leagues. You might stay in Single-A or Double-A or Triple-A your whole career. Most guys never get to the big leagues. That was one of my fears, too, with baseball. I knew in football, I could get to the NFL faster. It just takes so much longer to get to the bigs (in baseball).”
Unnecessary Shot At MJ
So, Brown admits that baseball is a much harder sport than football, but proceeds to take shots at MJ. What Michael Jordan accomplished in minor league baseball is remarkable, considering the fact that he was also the greatest basketball player to ever live.
Now, kids of today might not understand why the greatest basketball player in the world would want to play baseball, but when MJ was coming up in the 70s, baseball was king in the Black community. There was endless inspiration for kids of color, from Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and Willie Stargell to Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, Ken Griffey Jr., and all of the Hall of Fame players that dominated the game of baseball in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
Yup, once upon a time, Black kids wanted to play baseball just as much as basketball — probably more. Jordan’s brother said that the family thought MJ would become an MLB player when he was an adolescent. Somewhere along the line, destiny took hold and six titles and a GOAT status later, the rest is history.
If Brown could actually fare better than MJ did, we’d sure like to see it.
The 31-year-old Jordan, who hadn’t swung a bat since he was 17 years old, batted .202 with three home runs, 51 RBIs, and an impressive 30 stolen bases. He also rocked out with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League, batting .252 against elite prospects in baseball.
Brown would be some player if he can come close to these numbers. Baseball is recognized as one of the hardest sports to play and if Brown was a serious baller he would have a little more respect for what Jordan accomplished.