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BREAKING NEWS: Samardzija chooses baseball

| Friday, January 19, 2007

Notre Dame’s Jeff Samardzija was expected to sign a five-year contract with the Chicago Cubs today and forego a possible NFL career, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The former Irish football wide receiver and baseball pitcher had said previously he wanted to play both sports professionally. The Cubs announced today that he has committed to baseball and will play next season for the Cubs’ Class A affiliate in Peoria (Ill.), according to the Tribune.

ESPN.com reports the deal is worth $8 million.

The 6-foot-5, 220 pound Valparaiso, Ind. native played for the Cubs minor league teams in Peoria and Boise, Idaho this summer, where he finished with a 1-2 record and a 2.70 ERA. He also struck out 17 batters and walked 12 in 30 innings of work.

A Biletnikoff Award finalist, Samardzija caught 78 passes for 1,078 yards and 12 touchdowns on the gridiron this season. He was widely expected to be a top NFL draft choice.

It appears now that baseball is the only sport in his future.