Sports: Yankee Turned Cowboy
Most people enter college sports with dreams of one day playing in the majors, but Brandon Weeden did it the other way around. The starting quarterback for OSU may see pro football in his future, but he started appearing on baseball cards almost a decade ago, playing for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Kansas
An Edmond Santa Fe 2002 graduate, Weeden showed promise in football, baseball, and basketball, being named MVP and offensive player of the year in football and All-State in baseball. He was drafted to the Yankees in the second round of the MLB draft nine years ago.
“It was unreal. It was a dream-come-true. Since I was a little kid, I wanted to play in the majors,” Weeden says. “It was the chance of a lifetime. I enjoyed every minute of it and had some good experiences along the way.”
He says his big break came because the Yankees saw potential. At 6-feet, 4-inches, Weeden was tall for a pitcher and threw in the upper-90s. “There weren’t many guys who threw that hard,” he explains. “I was a decent player back then and they gave me a shot.”
In 2003, he was traded to the Dodgers and made his way to the Royals after the 2005 season. Weeden loved travelling all over the country and playing in different cities. He developed close friendships with his teammates and looks back fondly on those years.
After a shoulder injury, Weeden graciously bowed out of the majors. “I wasn’t able to compete at that level at 100 percent,” he says.
For a time, Weeden was out of the athletic world. In 2007, he enrolled at OSU and set his sights on a different sport. “College football has always been one of my favorite sports. I always knew that if baseball didn’t work out, I wanted to play football,” Weeden says.
The injury that ended his pitching career does not limit his ability to throw a football. “It’s two different throwing motions, and the ball is wider,” he explains. However, Weeden was out of practice. “When you take some time off, you don’t know how long it’s going to take to knock the rust off,” he says.
Rust may have gathered, but Weeden was a decent high school quarterback, so he knew he had the ability. When he decided it was something he wanted to do, he trained hard. Weeden got bigger, stronger, and with experience came a fuller utilization of his talent. “It really got me ready and helped me understand what it takes to play at Oklahoma State,” Weeden says.
He redshirted in 2007 and remained patient during the uphill years. For the first couple seasons, Weeden played when he could. It was a game here and there, and filling in for injured then-quarterback Zac Robinson. Eventually, Weeden’s day came. In 2010, he was named the starter. “It’s indescribable, playing in front of 65,000 people, sometimes 100,000. Every kid grows up wanting to do that,” Weeden says.
Now at 27 years old in his final semester of wearing orange, Weeden looks beyond graduation and college sports at the opportunities in his future. “Football is my primary goal. I want to play in the NFL. I want to play football as long as I can, but obviously I can’t play forever. I have to have a backup plan,” he says.
That backup plan involves entering what Weeden calls the “real world” and hopefully becoming a successful businessman after his football career is over, whenever that may be. He has his eyes on the oil industry, a field which certainly promises a myriad of possibilities. He married his wife, Melanie, in 2009, and the couple lives in Stillwater. Life is good for Weeden, but he’ll probably wear a jersey again before it’s time to put on a suit and pick up a briefcase.