Chicago, IL (UHND.com) – Shortly after Notre Dame introduced two new coaches Friday, defensive coordinator Corwin Brown and quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus, the Irish found themselves in the news again when senior wide receiver Jeff Samardzija signed a five year contract worth $8-10 million with the Chicago Cubs. In the process, Samardzija turned down the opportunity to continue making highlight reel catches on Sundays in the NFL.
“From this day forward I’m giving 100% of my efforts to baseball and the Chicago Cubs,” Samardzija told the media Friday and with that, his football career essentially ended.
Ever since being drafted in the 5th round by the Cubs last year, Samardzija has had to answer questions about whether he would play baseball or football professionally. His indecision at the time forced the Cubs from giving him a lucrative contract last summer, but Friday Samardzija made his decision. He will be the one throwing the ball instead of catching it.
The decision was not an easy one to make for Samardzija who said he would spend 10-12 hours a day thinking about what he was going to do after his time at Notre Dame was over.
Throughout the entire process, the Cubs were completely supportive of Samardzija and never tried to pressure him into making a decision. Mark Rodgers, Samardzija’s agent, told the media the Cubs’ Jim Hendry told Samardzija a few weeks back, “No matter what you do, we’re behind you. If you want to go play football and you want to play in the National football league we’ll be there cheering for you.”
According to Rodgers, Hendry did let Jeff know that he was wanted by the Cubs by telling him, “If you want to play professional baseball, we’d love for you to be a Cub.”
Samardzija said one of the deciding factors in his decision was his love for the game of baseball. “Baseball is my first love, I’ve been playing it my whole life.” His love for the Cubs was another reason for his decision to sign a contract now. “He wanted to be a Chicago Cub,” Rodgers told the media before introducing Samardzija.
When asked about what Charlie Weis’s response was to his decision, Samardzija said his former coach was extremely supportive. “All he asked for was some Cubs tickets,” Samardzija joked.
His contract is said to be worth between $8-10 million including a $2.5 million signing bonus. The contract also includes a no-trade clause which is a rarity for someone coming right out of college.
The no-trade clause and the signing bonus went hand in hand. “If he ever were to leave the Chicago Cubs he’s going to give it back,” explained Rodgers. The Cubs, however, were not the ones to request this provision. “They didn’t have to ask us for that. Jeff Samardzija said look, I’ll give it back, because I’m not going anywhere.”