The Braves are giving another football player a chance to try baseball

Big League Stew
Sanders Commings has reportedly signed with the Braves after a short NFL career. (AP)
Sanders Commings has reportedly signed with the Braves after a short NFL career. (AP)

Deion Sanders, Brian Jordan … and now Sanders Commings?

The Atlanta Braves have continued their franchise lineage of two-sport athletes by reportedly signing ex-NFL cornerback Sanders Commings to a minor-league deal. Yes, to play baseball. The news was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

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As Rosenthal notes above, Commings has Georgia roots, so that might have helped the Braves give him a shot. This is otherwise a gamble, albeit a low-risk one. It’s not like they’re throwing millions of dollars at him. Commings is 26 but hasn’t played baseball since high school. He was good enough then to get selected in the 37th round of the draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Commings opted instead to pursue college football. He was picked by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 but didn’t muster much of an NFL career. He appeared in just two games for the Chiefs. Now he’ll try to move up the Braves organization as an outfielder.

He’s sure to earn Tim Tebow comparisons for trying to make a run at a baseball career. And Tebow — who signed a minor-league deal with the New York Mets last year — has shown that getting back into baseball after not playing since high school isn’t easy. Tebow, at his highest level of competition since chasing baseball, hit .194 in the Arizona Fall League, playing against Double-A and Triple-A players.

So while seeing Commings join the Braves might remind of Primetime or Jordan (who was a baseball player first), this story is a bit different. He’s not simultaneously playing in the NFL. And he doesn’t have one true skill — like Deion’s speed — that easily translates from sport to sport. He’ll have to work his way up the ladder like any other late-round talent with a dream.

But Commings is good enough to impress ex-big leaguer Jerry Hairston, who met Commings in 2013. Now Jerry’s cousin Charles Hairston is Commings’ agent. Jerry told Fox Sports recently that he was doubtful at first, but now he’s a believer:

“In the back of my mind, I’m like, ‘C’mon, brah. Baseball is a whole different animal.’ In baseball, you can’t just rely on your athletic ability to succeed. There is an art to it, especially with hitting.”

Commings, in Hairston’s view, has the gift.

“If he had chosen baseball, he would be in the major leagues right now,” Hairston said. “He’s a Starling Marte type of talent. He’s that good.”

Starling Marte? That’s high praise. And maybe even something of a dubious claim. But now we’ll see if Commings and back it up.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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