It's amazing how things can come full circle.
Jarrad Page was a three-sport star at San Leandro High School, earning a total of nine varsity letters between football, baseball and basketball. By the time he graduated from UCLA, Page chose to pursue a career on the gridiron as a seventh-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. This, after being drafted three separate times into Major League Baseball, but passing on each opportunity.
"I was last drafted (in 2006) by the Angels, and had time before I needed to sign," said Page. "I thought, I might as well go to (football) training camp to check it out, and at least say that I did it."
That experiment with NFL camp turned into a much better situation than Page could have expected. He quickly impressed, earned playing time, and found himself as a starting rookie Safety for Kansas City.
"That kind of changed negotiations," Page said of his baseball future. "It just kind of worked out that I ended up playing football."
Page would spend the next four seasons with the Chiefs, one with the Patriots, and split last year between Philadelphia and Minnesota. Up to that point, it had been a relatively lucrative career for a player chosen in the final round of the draft.
"I'm very satisfied with what I did with my NFL career," Page recounted. "In a lot of people's eyes, I probably overachieved. But not to me."
After 74 NFL games, 248 tackles, 12 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles, the Oakland-born product decided he would walk away from football to make a comeback at his first love: baseball. It wasn't an easy choice, or path, but his mind was set.
Page admitted, "I told myself that I wanted to try other things, and see how that would work out."
This spring, the 27-year old went to an open tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was with the club in a minor league role for a month before being released. On July 24th, he signed a contract with the San Jose Giants.
In retrospect, it's quite a lifestyle change going from the prominence of professional football, to the far less glamor of Single-A baseball.
"My teammates all hassle me about that," Page says laughing. "We're on buses for seven hours, staying at hotels people have never heard of, at Denny's at midnight eating after games."
As an outfielder, Page has 16 games under his belt with San Francisco's minor league affiliate. In 66 plate appearances he has a .224 average, not bad considering he's had to re-acquaint himself with the game, and establish himself with teammates.
"It's a little awkward when you first walk in, and guys don't know you, and how serious you are about it," Page explained.
He is very serious about his baseball ambitions. How serious?
"My goal is to play in San Francisco. There's no doubt about it. That's what I'm working hard at, and that's what I'm trying to accomplish."
Page did not take a minor league contract just for the "fun of it." Instead he wants to make the best of it. Pushed by competitive nature, Page realizes the fortune and rarity of being able to play two separate sports professionally. Not to mention, he's been able to return to his Bay Area roots. An unlikely and incredible story, but don't start writing the book, just yet.
"There's no time to sit and be in awe of it. It's happening right now and I've got to work hard."
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You can listen to Brodie's full interview with Page at 957thegame.com