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Shea Patterson, Ranger minor leaguer, signs with Chiefs

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, who is on a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers, has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Shea Patterson, the quarterback for the University of Michigan who was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2018, has agreed to a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chiefs announced today. Patterson went undrafted in the NFL Draft last month.

Patterson, 23, was a 39th round pick of the Rangers in the 2018 MLB Draft, and signed a deal with Texas that allowed him to finish out his eligibility at the University of Michigan. Patterson attended spring training with the Rangers in 2019, though he has yet to play in an official game in the minor leagues. Patterson was listed as a 3B when he was drafted, and per Baseball America, received a $25,000 signing bonus from the Rangers.

With the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic putting baseball on hold, and with the likelihood that there will be no minor league baseball this year, Patterson’s official pro affiliated game debut was likely going to be delayed until 2021 anyway. Patterson wasn’t expected to be drafted by an NFL team, and will face an uphill battle to make the Chiefs’ roster, but it makes sense that he would at least give it a shot right now.

The Rangers have a history with football players in recent years. Riley Cooper was drafted in the 25th round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Florida, and like Patterson, signed under the condition that he would be allowed to play his final season of college football. Cooper played well enough as a senior for Florida that he opted to forego baseball and focus on football instead, becoming a fifth round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles for whom he played for six years.

Jordan Akins was a 3rd round pick of the Rangers in the 2010 draft, and received a big enough bonus for him to forego his commitment to play football at the University of Central Florida. After struggling mightily as a professional baseball player, Akins retired from baseball and returned to football after the 2013 season, having success for UCF and becoming a third round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2018.

Jameis Winston was selected by the Rangers in the 15th round of the 2012 draft out of high school, with Texas offering him the opportunity to sign with them while still being able to play football for Florida State. Winston, of course, declined, and went on to become the first overall pick in the NFL Draft in 2015. When Winston was released earlier this year I was sure A.J. Preller was going to sign him to a deal with the San Diego Padres.

And of course, most notoriously, the Rangers took Texas Tech safety Donald Harris 5th overall in the 1989 draft. Harris was selected 2 picks before the Chicago White Sox took Frank Thomas, the Hall of Famer who, according to Johnson, he passed on in favor of the toolsy Harris because all Thomas could do was hit. Harris appeared in major league games in three different seasons but never did hit. Harris was a 12th round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1992, as well, and there was some exploration of him playing for the Cowboys, but that never panned out, either.