Senquez Golson explains how an 18-year-old passes on $1.35 million

PITTSBURGH -- The Boston Red Sox selected outfielder Senquez Golson in the eighth round of the 2011 draft.

To sweeten the deal, the Red Sox offered what Golson described as a $1.35-million signing bonus.

"If I would have taken the money and I didn't enjoy it, who knows where I would be," Golson said.

Golson only knew where he wanted to be, which is on a football field. That's why he didn't take the money.

After a .345 average with three home runs, 25 RBIs and 16 steals as a senior at Pascagoula (Miss.) High, Golson went to Ole Miss as a two-sport athlete, but gave up baseball after a year there. He played 22 baseball games at Ole Miss and batted .204.

So he bet on his 5-foot-9 self as a playmaker in a helmet.

"It came down to what I love to do every day, and that's football," said Golson, who finished with 10 interceptions in 2014. "Not knowing which direction I wanted to take, I relied on my football ability."

Picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 56 overall, Golson will get a signing bonus of more than $1 million, plus salaries over the course of a four-year deal getting him close to $4 million if he plays the contract out.

Had he picked baseball without the emotional investment, Golson could be toiling in Double-A ball right now.

Golson hasn't signed his rookie deal yet, but the Steelers don't have to worry about him returning to baseball. Tampa Bay placed a stipulation in No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston's contract that the former two-sport athlete at FSU can't have it both ways.

Golson realizes his investment has paid off, but it was never about that kind of payoff.

"It never really was about the money to me," Golson said. "It was about, 'I’m the only person that’s gotta do it.' I have to make sure this is what I wanted to do."