Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was not only an All-America linebacker at USC, he also played on the baseball team and was good enough to be drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays.
That two-sport background caused his path to cross with a pair of guys with USC connections who went on to do pretty well in the Pacific Northwest. One, not surprisingly, is Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. The other is former Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson, who was a teammate of Del Rio’s on the 1983-84 Trojans baseball teams, which also included Mark McGwire.
“Randy was wild,” Del Rio said Tuesday. “He didn’t have a lot of great control back in the day – but awesome talent, and awesome to see him have such a spectacular career.”
Del Rio was long gone by the time Carroll took over the USC football program in 2001, and their paths have crossed only rarely at campus events or through the NFL.
“Not a lot other than we played a lot of basketball at the Senior Bowl over the years,” Del Rio said. “Pete’s got a little game. He can shoot a little bit. You’ve got to put a hand in his face. Other than that, when I would go out to Southern Cal, he was always very gracious out there when I would go out there to visit the Trojans.”