A little more than three months after retiring from professional baseball and slightly more than five months since he watched his older brother Joe win the Super Bowl, Mike Flacco has decided to give football a shot.
The former Baltimore Orioles draft pick has enrolled at the University of New Haven and will be a tight end for the Division II program this fall, Chargers head coach Pete Rossomando told FOX Sports Thursday.
The 26-year-old Flacco brings a lot of athletic ability but hasn’t played football since high school.
"He’s 6-6, 250 and can run. You can use those guys," Rossomando said with a laugh. "We worked him out, we were able to watch him run around. He’s very raw and he needs some seasoning to get to that next level.
"But if he does the things we ask, the sky is the limit for him."
Flacco has been entertaining the idea of playing football since last year, when he struggled with the Orioles’ Class A and AA affiliates (a .214 average and only eight home runs in 107 games). He quickly added 30 pounds of muscle and was running football-type drills alongside NFL draft hopefuls at TEST Sports Clubs in New Jersey.
Flacco, who claimed he was the only player in Orioles spring training last year to run a sub-4 second 30-yard dash, was also performing well during those workouts, which gave him the confidence he belonged with that crew.
A trade from the Orioles’ organization to the Boston Red Sox seems to have been the final nudge Flacco needed to quit baseball and jump into football.
"I want to be there with him," Mike said of Joe in January, just before the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. "I see everything he’s doing on the field and off the field, I want to do the same things.
"I’m just excited for Joe, excited to go down there. My stuff is my stuff. I’ve got to find my own ground. I know all of Joe’s success may help me, but at the same time I have to find what I want to do."
Rossomando said Flacco told him he wants to earn a degree while also making a run at the NFL. (A source told FOX Sports that Flacco was toying with the idea of trying to go straight to the NFL, but decided on college first.)
Flacco was unavailable for comment Thursday.
An excellent high school student who is receiving academic and athletic scholarships from New Haven, Flacco has two semesters completed after attending community college. Rossomando said Flacco could graduate in two years "if he pushes it," which would mean he’d be 28 by then.
"He was very sincere about wanting to be in a college atmosphere. Very sincere," said Rossomando, whose team posted a 10-1 record and an eighth-overall ranking in 2012. "Will we have him for four years? No, but is it realistic to say we’ll have him for two or three years? Yeah."