June 10, 2009
Washington quarterback Jake Locker was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft today. He was chosen with the final pick of the 10th round. Afterwards, he spoke with members of the press via teleconference from his home in Ferndale. Following is a transcript of his conversation:
Q: Are you staying put at the University of Washington?
Locker: I'm staying put to play football at Washington.
Q: Are you planning to talk to the Angels about the possibilities of (playing baseball and football)?
Locker: Not possibility of doing both. They contacted me before the draft and asked me my interest in playing; I think it's the same that it's always been. It's not a priority. I had a couple of other teams that came to me about possibly signing to hold rights to me, so if football didn't work out, you know baseball would be an option. I'm very up front with them about that. They understand that football is my priority, and that I'm going to give my devoted effort to it right now, and we'll see where it goes from there.
Q: Will you sign with the Angels; is that an option at all?
Locker: Definitely. If we can come to an agreement about a contract in terms - it's something that I'm looking into now. But again, they understand that it would probably be a couple of years before I was playing baseball anyway.
Q: Are you planning on playing baseball this summer?
Locker: No. I'm just getting ready for football.
Q: If you sign, do you know how long the Angels hold your rights?
Locker: Six years.
Q: Have you talked with representation, or is your dad going to handle things?
Locker: Well I can't agree to having any kind of agent, because my amateur status would be lost at that point for football. So I can't agree to any of that. We'll try and do as much as we can with my family, and try to go from there.
Q: If you sign with the Angels, can you stay on scholarship?
Locker: No, I will lose my athletic scholarship.
Q: Considering you told the Angels you weren't playing baseball, are you surprised you went in the 10th round?
Locker: Yeah, kind of. Definitely. I talked with a few teams coming into the draft, but I didn't have any idea that I would be taken that high.
Q: Who were some of the other teams you did talk to?
Locker: There was the Twins and the Brewers. The Rangers, there was a couple of other teams. My dad did most of the conversation with them, because it was during spring ball. So I would just give them my dad's number and he dealt with that.
Q: Were they looking at you as a utility player, or specifically as a pitcher or batter. What kind of ideas did they have for you?
Locker: I think they're looking at me as a center fielder. I think that's what they have judged me as out of high school.
[NOTE: He was drafted as a center fielder.]
Q: Jake have you talked money with the Angels, and if so, can you share what that range would be?
Locker: I have no idea. That's something that they'll come with a proposal in a couple of weeks, and I'll have to talk about it with my family and we'll go from there.
Q: If you sign with the Angels, and then an NFL team comes and wants you, are you allowed to get out of your (baseball) contract?
Locker: I wouldn't have to get out of the contract with them. Once I signed that contract, I would be in that contract for six years. And if there in the contract, under the understanding that if I have the opportunity to go play football, I'm going to.
Q: You say you have to give up your scholarship at UW, is that a "take one for the team" kind of thing? How do you feel about possibly giving up your scholarship?
Locker: It'd be something, that when we talk about the agreement of the contract, that's something that I would ask for, is to make sure that my next two years of school would be covered by them. It would open up an extra scholarship for our team.
Q: It sounds like if your football career goes well and you go into the (NFL), it sounds like you'll never play baseball again. Is that correct?
Locker: Yeah, yeah. Like I said, football is my No. 1 priority and if I can make it in that, I'm going to.
Q: Do you have a certain number that you won't accept any less in order to sign with the Angels?
Locker: No, I think that's going to be something that we'll have to discuss with the team, and kind of come to terms on an agreement with them. It's obviously got to be something for me and my family that's worth it, and is reasonable on the other side. In the next couple of weeks, we'll do that discussion.
Q: Why do you like football so much better than baseball that you'd be willing to pass up a lot of money?
Locker: I love playing the game. I always have. It's always been my passion and what I love doing. In front of the prospect of making any kind of money, I just love playing the game. I just enjoy life and doing the things that I love, and that means a lot to me. So I'm not going to pass on that for money.
Q: Does the security of the contract with the Angels, and what it would provide for you if football doesn't work out, enticing to you?
Locker: Definitely. I don't know how it wouldn't be enticing to anybody. But nothing is guaranteed to anybody in anything. This is just something, if things don't happen to work out as I hope they will, then I have the opportunity to still play for a living, and I think that is a pretty good opportunity.
Q: Do you feel that you have unfinished business at UW?
Locker: It's very important. I haven't lost focus on that. That's what my goal is, to turn this program around, and be part of the team that did it. That's what we're focused on. I'm not playing (baseball) this summer. I'm going to focus all of my attention on football here, and this doesn't change any of that.
Q: Did the (Bellingham) Bells talked to you again about playing?
Locker: After last year, it was a great experience and everything, but it was too much. I knew I wouldn't be able to do it again this summer.
Q: You described football as a passion and said you loved it. Can you describe your relationship with baseball?
Locker: I love baseball too. I love playing the sport. It's a great game. It's a game that takes a lot of mental toughness and the ability to overcome failure every day. There's something that's challenging about that and enticing about that as well. But at the end of the day, you know, I got blessed with the passion for football.
[NOTE: If Jake Locker signs a contract, he would be considered a walk-on. It's the same situation as defensive back Tripper Johnson (a 2000 first-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles). His signing would open up an additional scholarship for the football team.]
Q: Knowing that information, does that add more incentive to sign a baseball deal?
Locker: It can't hurt to get another guy here to get this football to where we need to go. That's obviously the benefit of that situation.
Q: How long do you think it's going to take before you know if you solidify this contract?
Locker: Like I said, I have no telling. I think we have until Aug. 15 to do it. So I think we'll be in contact in the next couple of weeks. And hopefully sooner than later.
[NOTE: This year, the deadline is Aug. 17, as the 15th falls on a Saturday.]
Q: The Angels drafted you out of high school. Obviously they've been following you for a long time. Have you gotten to know some of their people?
Locker: Yeah, I know the guy I was in contact with quite a bit. They're the ones that drafted me out of high school and they're giving me another chance now. They're a great organization. And they do a great job with their club and I feel very fortunate to have been drafted by them.
Q: Even if you sign, is getting your degree and graduating important to you?
Locker: Oh yeah, definitely. I've never been one to run away from anything, and I don't plan to start now. I really love my experience here, and it hasn't been athletically what I hoped it would be, but I wouldn't change it for the world. If I could go back, I would do the same thing. It's been a great experience for me, and I'm looking forward to the next two years of it.