Amazing! New England Patriots Offer Return to Former Baseball Player
What a wild comeback story of sorts this is for Tyler Gaffney, who has had a wild ride in his athletic career anyway.
Let's recap real quick: Tyler was a student-athlete at Stanford, playing both football and baseball (and excelling at both.) He entered Stanford as a freshman in 2009, playing a few seasons of Stanford Cardinal football while, according to TheSpun.com, also becoming a three-year letter winner.
In fact, he excelled so much at baseball that the Pittsburgh Pirates signed him during his junior year at Stanford in 2012. He played one season in the Pirates' minor league system before returning to Stanford and having a monster senior year for the Cardinal football team in 2013, which led to him being drafted to the NFL by the Carolina Panthers in 2014.
He never saw a game with the Panthers, though, after suffering a knee injury during training camp and being waived. That's when, according to TheSpun.com, the New England Patriots snagged him up and signed him. He was with the Pats for three years and even was awarded TWO Super Bowl rings while he was here, despite NEVER touching the field for a game -- he bounced between the Injured Reserve list and the practice squad.
Tyler was eventually picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, put on Injured Reserved once again that summer, before deciding to retire from football due to injuries, and pick back up where he left off with professional baseball in 2018. After playing in the Pirates' farm system with their Low-A team, the Bradenton Marauders, and their Double-A team, the Altoona Curve, he announced his retirement from baseball in 2019.
In 2020, he decided to un-retire from football for a quick stay with the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, before catching back up to the present and returning to where it all sort-of-but-not-fully-officially-began for him -- the New England Patriots.
Here's hoping this is the year Tyler finally gets to realize his dream of rising above the practice squad, staying off the Injured Reserve, and getting some playing time in a pro football game.