Hall of Fame
Join Date: Apr 2004
Casey Cut Loose to Cut Loose
Yes, he tried his hand at reaching MLB and was cut loose..........now, he is here in Houston ready to cut loose in the NFL.
Justice lets Casey relive his story.
Casey admits there are days he still thinks about what could have been.
“I had this dream of being a major league player,” he said.
One dream detoured, another born. Now his dream is to play in the NFL.
“Things happen for a reason,” Casey said. “Thank goodness, it has worked out the way it did.”
The Texans have him penciled in to play tight end and special teams in this his rookie season, but believe he could end up almost anywhere on the field.
This isn’t exactly how he had things charted, but still. He spent four seasons playing minor league baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization, and then one day, he was released.
Inside the White Sox organization, there’s still debate about whether they gave up on Casey too soon.
Casey was stunned. A prospect one minute, a has-been at 21 the next. These decisions are the toughest baseball people make, to tell a kid that the very thing he has poured so much of his life into won’t happen.
“It’s just like getting fired from any other job,” Casey said. “I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to me.”
He returned to his home in Azle, caught on with the independent league Fort Worth Cats and gave it one more shot.
Finally, seeing no way out, Casey quit baseball for good.
“The biggest thing was playing with a lot of guys that were in their 30s,” he said. “I think I was the youngest guy in the league. ... I didn’t want to play independent baseball for the rest of my life to keep the dream alive.”
Plan B: football
Casey went looking for an opportunity to play football. To make the transition from one professional sport to another is more than most Division I coaches could comprehend. Todd Graham, then the coach at Rice, had both scholarships and opportunity. Last fall, all the speed and size and athleticism those baseball people loved about Casey, came together.
He caught 111 passes, scored 18 touchdowns and was a huge part of the rebirth of football at Rice. Then the Texans took him in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, and Casey went to camp with the same promise he’d made about baseball.
“I wanted to make sure no one outworked me,” he said. “I hadn’t played football in four or five years, but I was confident I could do it. It was a little different putting pads on again, but I was so determined. I felt I could have done better in baseball.”