Carl Crawford is entering his third season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fifth year of a seven-year, $142 million contract that he signed with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2011 season.
Crawford’s lucrative deal makes him the fourth-highest paid player on the Dodgers roster and falls in line with the contracts that are handed out to upper-echelon of talent in baseball. Granted, players don’t always meet the expectations that come with such contracts and/or are unable to due to injury.
Where baseball differs from other professional sports is in the propensity of long-term contracts frequently handed out and guaranteed money. According to Pedro Moura of the OC Register, Crawford believes it’s one reason why baseball is a superior sport, pointing to Ndamukong Suh’s recent agreement with the Miami Dolphins as flawed:
Those contracts, they don’t make sense to me at all,” Crawford said Saturday. “If somebody’s reporting $100 million, they should get $100 million. But it’s not that way. And that’s why we love this sport, because we get all our money.”
Crawford played football, basketball and baseball in high school. He accepted a scholarship to play quarterback at the University of Nebraska, but never stepped foot on campus as the Tampa Bay Rays drafted him in the second round of the 1999 draft and offered him a $1.5 million signing bonus.
That money and lower health risks made choosing baseball over football an obvious choice for Crawford, and he thinks it should be obvious for other young athletes as well:
You would think so, but it’s just the culture sometimes,” said Crawford, a Houston native. “Some guys get so caught up in being a football player that they don’t really think about the money part.”
The 33 year old is still playing at a high level (he batted .300 in 343 at-bats in 2014), where as if he chose football it is likely that his career would already be over (the average NFL retirement age is 30). So it looks like Crawford made the right choice and if he had it his way, other young athletes would follow suit.
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