If you haven't already heard, Dennis Dixon has signed with the Atlanta Braves and will be playing minor league ball this summer. He'll spend two weeks in Florida before heading to the Danville Braves of the Appalchian League as an outfielder. Here are the major article highlights from the Register-Guard:
Dixon will have a playbook, game film and a football with him for the summer, and pledged to endure a workout plan designed by UO strength and conditioning guru Jim Radcliffe. But it won't be the same as living, socializing and practicing with his teammates every day, he acknowledged.
"Yeah, I'm worried about it," Dixon said. "It's always a thought in your mind," that if he struggles in the fall, his participation in baseball might be blamed.
A certain Portland all-sports station has had a lot of play on this topic over the weekend, and I'm surprised at the reaction of Oregon fans. It ranges from the melodramatic (Oregon's season is now lost), to the completely irrational (Dixon has turned his back on the team). While its true that Dixon will be missing some practice time, he should be back for the start of camp, giving him about a month and a half to two months of baseball playing.
Dixon says there is "zero" chance of him not playing football this fall. This is not a freshman of sophomore doing this, Dixon is a seasoned vet, and knows at this point what he needs to do to be ready. Jeff Samardzjia and Ricky Williams both played baseball, and it didn't hurt them at all (granted, neither of them were quarterbacks). He will be on a football fitness regiment and have a play book. While thats not the same as actual reps, its hard to make the leap that not having reps will cause Dixon to have a woeful season. I'm not saying that this won't affect Dixon's football, but its WAY too early to make that leap at this point.
Honestly, what did you expect Dennis to do here? A fifth-round pick is a legitimate major league prospect. Rumor has it he is being given at least a $150,00 signing bonus--you just don't turn down that kind of money. And with Dixon not at all being a sure thing for an NFL future, he had to do what was best to take care of himself.
For now, there is no point in getting all worked up about this. We have no idea how this will affect his football season, if at all. Don't panic, just take a wait and see approach.
We'll have updates all summer on Dennis' season with Danville.