NFL: Could an NFL Lockout Cause Locker to Play Baseball?

Matt GrayContributor IFebruary 25, 2011

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Syracuse Orange on September 11, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels' front office is said to be keeping a close eye on the NFL labor situation, in hope that one of the bright young prospects to cross their paths becomes potentially available to them in the next few weeks.

Jake Locker was once named by Baseball America as the Major League's top prospect, a stand-out pitcher and, as the Angels viewed him, a "strong armed out-fielder". The Angels even picked him in the 10th round of the 2009 MLB Draft, offering him a $250,000 signing bonus. Therefore, the team currently hold Locker's rights until the August of 2015, making a transition back onto the diamond a possibility for him.

If the lockout goes ahead, it would not be completely unheard of to see Locker embark on a professional baseball career. He has a cannon for an arm and incredible speed, both strong characteristics of the Mike Scioscia era. Whether or not Locker would want to make that transition even if the opportunity arose is another question altogether.

Angels GM Tony Reagins recently spoke on Locker, saying he'd periodically been training at the teams minor league facility in Arizona as part of his contractual obligations.

"I think there are some factors out there that are going to make his decisions more difficult," Reagins said. "The labor situation is one, where he's selected is one of them. Our eyes are wide open in this regard and we'll see how it plays out. You always have a chance."

Regardless of what kind of ball that Locker is playing next season, you have to respect the talent that he is gifted with to have this myriad of possibilities on his doorstep. No matter what happens in the coming weeks with the labor dispute, Locker definitely has options in the event of either conclusion.