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College Sports: Villanova’s Szczur Chooses Baseball

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(File photo from AP)

(File photo from AP)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Matt Szczur is one of those rare athletes who has the ability — and the opportunity — to play two different sports, baseball and football, at the professional level.

However, he has decided that his future is in baseball, and he will now focus on a career with the Chicago Cubs organization.  They drafted him in the fifth round back in June.

Szczur announced his decision to stick with baseball on Thursday, and he called in to KYW Newsradio to talk about how the decision came to pass.

“I was invited to the Senior Bowl,” he told KYW’s Matt Leon.  “I was invited to the (NFL) combine as well, so I was down in Boca Raton, Florida, training, and I was very serious about taking the next step to the NFL.  I think the Cubs really took that into consideration and they really wanted me to be with them.  The GM came down, took me out to dinner, and we had a great conversation.  He flew down on Sunday and I verbally committed on Tuesday to play with the Cubs.”

Hear the entire Matt Szczur interview in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

On the football field, Szczur was an all-around offensive weapon for the Wildcats — running, catching, and passing the football and helping the Villanova football team win a National Championship in 2009.   He did return this past fall to play, but he was hampered by injuries much of the season, although he was healthy for the postseason and he helped the Wildcats get to the national semifinals.

Szczur says the decision was a hard one.

“I feel like I could succeed at both, and I like both the same,” he said.  “And that’s why it was such a hard decision for me.  It’s still going to be hard to walk away from football, but if I chose football it would have been hard to walk away from baseball.”

Szczur (pronounced like “Caesar”) made three stops in the Cubs’ minor league system last year, hitting .347.   He ended the campaign with Single-A Peoria, and he thinks that is where he will start the 2011 season.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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