St. Louis Rams rookie receiver Bradley Marquez has more than a passing interest in the New York Mets as they take on the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.
He’s in the NFL now with the Rams, but once was also a talented outfielder who was drafted by the Mets in the 16th round of the 2011 Major League Draft. He played minor-league baseball at the same time he was playing college football at Texas Tech before finally putting his baseball career on hold to pursue football.
“I’m definitely paying attention; keeping up with them as much as I can,” said Marquez, who stayed up late to to watch all 14 innings of the Royals’ 5-4 Game 1 victory. “It’s a special time for the organization. I know some of the guys on the team and it’s fun to watch, and now I’m seeing them perform on the highest level.”
The 22-year-old Marquez hit a combined .254 in parts of two minor-league seasons with the Mets’ Class A Kingsport rookie league affiliate in the Appalachian League. One of his minor-league teammates was current Mets pitcher Steven Matz.
“I played with him and there’s a few guys that I’ve got the chance to play with in extended spring training while they were on rehab assignments and stuff,” Marquez said, mentioning Jeurys Familia and Hansel Robles. “It’s awesome. It’s amazing, especially to have some guys that I’m familiar with and met and played with ... the organization deserves it. From top to bottom it’s been a long time coming, so I’m definitely exciting to see them playing.”
Does Marquez, who signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent, wish he was still playing baseball?
“It’s awesome to see (the World Series) and you always think ‘Oh man, it would be awesome if I was there,” he said. “But everything happens for a reason.”
Marquez has blossomed into a significant special teams role with the Rams this season and has eight tackles. It all began in the season opener when he alertly scooped up an onside kick attempt by the Seahawks that set up the game-winning drive for the Rams.
“We have a lot of good receivers, veteran receivers and they’re healthy so I’ve just got to wait my turn,” said Marquez, who had 155 pass receptions for 1,866 yards and 17 touchdowns at Texas Tech. “I’m a rookie, I understand that. These guys have a few years under their belt so I’m learning each and every day from them. That’s all I can ask for at this point.”
Another way Marquez helps out is serving as the opposing team’s top receiver for the scout team that goes against the Rams’ first-team defense.
“I was (Arizona’s) Larry Fitzgerald ... (Steelers star) Antonio Brown ... there’s a been a few of those guys that I’ve been,” he said. “It’s fun being able to go against our first-team defense. Those guys are awesome. We have an amazing defense so for me to be able to get work against Janoris (Jenkins) and Trumaine (Johnson), each and every day you get some kind of work.
“It’s really good I think it’s going to help me down the road.”
The Mets still own Marquez’s baseball rights through 2018 and he hasn’t totally ruled out giving baseball another shot.
“They own my rights as far as baseball goes, but I’m 100 percent with the Rams,” he said. “This is what I want to do right now and this is football, so I give it my all.”
Rams injury update
The list of Rams players not practicing Wednesday included safety T.J. McDonald (shoulder), defensive end Chris Long (knee), defensive end Robert Quinn (knee), runnning back Tre Mason (ankle), defensive end William Hayes (thigh) and defensive tackle Nick Fairley (illness).
Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis (elbow) and tight end Lance Kendricks (thumb) both practiced.
Dick Vermeil special on TV
Former Rams coach Dick Vermeil will be the subject of the next NFL Network “A Football Life” show 8 p.m. Friday. The one-hour show will touch on his coaching experience in the NFL, college and elsewhere, including his 1999 Super Bowl championship season with the Rams.
Vermeil also coached the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.