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Samardzija happy he chose baseball over football: NFL frowns upon free-thinking

theScore logo theScore 3/1/2018

© Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty In 2006, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija chose to pursue baseball full-time even though he was a star wide receiver at the University of Notre Dame.

The decision, as he told's Jon Paul Morosi, was the right one. In addition to loving the sport - and hating football practice - baseball's culture acted as a key motivator.

"I like how you're treated in baseball," Samardzija said. "You're treated like a man. Show up on your time. It's your career. They don't hold your hand as much as football. That always bugged me about football - meetings and things like that. I know what I'm doing wrong. You don't need to reiterate it to me that I'm (messing) up.

"From what I've heard, individuality and free-thinking is frowned upon (in the NFL). Being your own man is not what they want. I think they want people to fall in line, toe the line and not ask questions on why they're toeing the line. Talking to some buddies, I know a couple guys have been told they're too smart for the NFL. In that aspect, (baseball) was the right choice for me. I felt like I had a higher ceiling in baseball and more hunger for it."

Many of his football-playing peers, such as former Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster, have retired or are nearing the end of their respective careers. Meanwhile, Samardzija is entering the third season of a five-year, $90-million contract with the Giants. At the end of the deal, he will have played in 13 major-league seasons.

Samardzija has built a reputation as one of the game's most durable starting pitchers. Since 2013, when Samardzija began a streak of five consecutive 200-inning seasons, only Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer has thrown more innings.

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