Instead of continuing his attempts to climb the baseball ladder, former Orioles minor league first baseman Mike Flacco has traded in his glove and bat for a pair of football cleats and a helmet.
The younger brother of Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Joe Flacco, Mike Flacco is now set to play tight end for the University of New Haven. After being traded to the Boston Red Sox this spring, the 26-year-old opted to end his baseball career and is now on the voluntarily retired list.
While Mike Flacco hasn't played football since high school in Audubon, N.J., the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder impressed New Haven coach Pete Rossomando during a recent workout.
"He's a very smooth athlete who caught the ball very, very well," Rossomando said during a telephone interview with The Baltimore Sun. "He hasn't played football in a long time. He's very raw, but has great athletic ability. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders. I really enjoyed talking to him.
"He comes from a great family. The parents really set the precedent there. We'll see what happens, but I'm really excited to get him out here working with our coaches. He's a great kid."
A 2009 Orioles 31st-round draft selection out of the Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville, Mike Flacco was traded to the Red Sox for cash considerations on March 15.
He finished his minor league baseball career last season, primarily playing at Single-A Frederick (four games for Double-A Bowie), hitting .214 with eight home runs, 15 doubles, one triple, seven stolen bases, 31 walks and 62 strikeouts.
In 2011, Mike Flacco was the starting first baseman for Frederick as the Keys won the Carolina League championship when he batted .250 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 50 games.
Now, Mike Flacco becomes the third brother to play college football. John Flacco is a reserve receiver after walking on at Stanford.
"We just want the kid to be successful and don't want to put too much pressure on him," Rossomando said. "He's not going to step in and be Joe Flacco. He's Mike, not Joe. I just want him to do the things he does well and not worry about having to live up to expectations. He gave it a good run with baseball, and now he's giving football a shot."
The Chargers compete at the Division II level, finishing 10-1 last season.
Mike Flacco will be a sophomore in the classroom and in terms of eligibility. He has been training at TEST Football Academy in Martinsville, N.J., and has NFL ambitions.
"He hasn't blocked anybody, so it will be interesting to see how he develops as a blocker," Rossomando said. "He's got to play for the University of New Haven or he won't play for the NFL. He's got some work to do, but he's a great guy who's willing to put in the work. He's a very humble guy, similar to Joe in that respect.
"He's a very low-key, humble guy who's going to work hard and try to impress you. I like that about him. He's got an opportunity to compete here and he can be a good player. With his ability, he can be knocking on the door rather quickly."