Christian Hackenberg’s New York Jets tenure failed, but the former second-round pick has transitioned from the gridiron to the diamond.
Christian Hackenberg is now trying to become a pitcher
“I’ve had my trials and tribulations with the NFL”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 13, 2020
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg might still make his professional regular-season debut in New York. But instead of under center with the New York Jets, it may come on the pitcher’s mounds of Yankee Stadium or Citi Field.
Hackenberg will still be throwing in his next athletic endeavor. Nonetheless, he’s trading in his playbook for a baseball glove as he seeks on-field redemption after a brutal entry to the pros. His showcase can be seen on local television in the Pennsylvania area on Saturday (11 p.m. ET, NBC Philadelphia).
“I just want to compete, man,” Hackenberg said to Rob Kuestner of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’ve had trial and tribulations in the NFL…had that roller coaster ride. I’m sitting here at [age] 25. I feel like I have a lot left in the tank.”
Baseball wouldn’t exactly be new terrain for Hackenberg. He played three varsity seasons at Fork Union Military Academy and posted a 7.36 ERA over 25.2 innings. At the plate, Hackenberg batted .378 (including a career-best .411 in his senior season) and was a different kind of scrambler on the basepaths, stealing 21 on 23 attempts.
Hackenberg committed to football upon reaching Penn State University in 2013. The Jets chose him with the No. 51 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He failed to secure even the backup quarterback job and never played a down in the regular season. New York then traded him to the Oakland Raiders in May 2018 and he would later play reserve and practice squad roles with Philadelphia and Cincinnati, respectively.
Hackenberg finally earned the opportunity to take the field as a member of the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football in February 2019, posting a 43.5 passer rating over three starts.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags