Are You Ready For Some Football?

While it is certainly Royals fans hope that Bubba Starling will eventually sign with KC, it would be fun to get some feel for how he would perform as a college quarterback.

It looks like we may never know.

The Nebraska Cornhusker signee has yet to see the field.

Bubba Starling

After much hullabaloo over his attendance of off-season workouts in Lincoln, Starling has yet to engage in actual football practice. Message boards buzz and the Nebraska media keeps close tabs, but Starling has yet to throw a pass, run an option, or take a hit as a collegian.

The Cornhuskers started working out last Saturday – the first contact coaches were allowed to have with players. Coach Bo Pelini said afterward that Starling won’t participate in team activities until at least Aug. 15, the signing deadline for recent MLB draftees.

While his attendance at NU is certainly a bargaining chip in contract negotiations, it also seemed Starling wanted to be in Lincoln to experience, if only briefly, the life of a college football player.

It looks now like that won’t happen. He’s not listed on the team roster and isn’t working out with the squad. He may hang out with football players in the dorm, in the cafeteria or around town, but he’s not a football player. Not now. And maybe not ever.

Coach Pelini even went so far as to say that it “would not make sense for him to practice as long as there is uncertainty about his future.”

One has to wonder if the “I might play football, I might not…” game alienates Starling from his NU coaches and teammates. In a sport where commitment is paramount, Starling appears to be manipulating the Cornhuskers strictly for his own benefit.

Real football players are not the type who shun contact or avoid the potential for injury. Starling, wisely, is doing just that, but it’s just one more way he’s not truly “one of them.”

Bubba Starling fans (not necessarily Royals fans) would like to have some idea how Starling would stack up on the gridiron. A couple of intense weeks of competition would give them at least something.

Certainly Starling has no chance of cracking the Cornhusker lineup. Not with Taylor Martinez firmly entrenched for the next three seasons. His best hope would be to show in practice that he could beat out red-shirt freshman Brion Carnes, sophomore Ron Kellogg III, and true freshman Jamal Turner on the depth chart.

But now it looks like not even that will happen. It is generally assumed that Starling won’t dare turn down the $7 to 10 million that he will get for signing with KC. Not when his success at quarterback is far from guaranteed. And not when new labor agreements in both baseball and football could decrease his earning potential in future years.

Many fans hoped to follow reports from Lincoln of Starling’s daily work at quarterback over this week, adding to the drama leading up to Aug. 15.

But unless the Cornhuskers pull some major upset, we’ll always wonder just how good Starling the quarterback could have been.

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