Tony Mueller's baseball career took him to the College World Series and the minor leagues. Now, he's beginning a new chapter.
He's back at Winona State. This time, however, he's playing football.
"There aren't many guys who can say they went on to play professional baseball, came back to finish their degree, which is the most important thing to me, and play college football," Mueller said.
After the Atlanta Braves released him in April, the former Ranger, Logger and Warrior traded in his baseball mitt for a football helmet.
"When I was released by the Braves, I was going to wait and see if any other Major League teams called me, to see if they wanted to pick me up. But with the draft coming in June, I didn't think there would be much of a chance. So I got a hold of [Winona State Head Coach Tom Sawyer] and just told him I'm interested in playing."
"He's one of our students," Sawyer said. "He's a Winona State kid. He's a kid I've known, watched him play baseball, been a big fan of his on that side and to have that kind of kid on our team, I'll always find a spot for him."
Mueller will play wide receiver. The transition isn't easy.
"Definitely just the physicality," he said.
But he's catching on.
"He had a ball out left, pulled it in with one hand, and I said that's just like going in the gap for one," said Sawyer.
When Mueller was playing baseball at Winona State, he was focused on the majors. Now, he's just having fun.
"That's the biggest thing is, I loved high school football. I loved playing Friday night lights," he said. "To get a chance to do it on Saturdays, that's what I'm excited for."
"He can have a lot of fun. He works hard, he's already got that built in," said Sawyer. "Right now, come out, work hard, have fun and be a college kid. That's what we want."
"It's just exciting for me and it puts a big smile on my face," Mueller said.
Mueller has two years of eligibility remaining. He's majoring in business administration.