Former Heisman Trophy Winner Tries to Resurrect his NFL Career By Throwing for Draft Prospect

(Philadelphia, Pa) — A surprise from the 2008 NFL Draft Pro Day circuit was not the fact that Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly wanted to improve upon his reported 4.6 time in the forty at his second Pro Day workout, but it was the appearance of a ‘mystery” thrower at the event.  Everyone last week in Norman, Oklahoma was saying, “Is that Eric Crouch throwing the ball?”  To answer their question, “Yes” that Eric Crouch the former University of Nebraska option quarterback and 2002 Heisman Trophy winner was back looking for one more shot at the NFL.

Crouch, who was once dubbed by a local Philadelphia sports radio host as ‘the fastest white guy ever’, is trying to prove at the age of twenty-nine that he still has life in his arms and legs.  The former option wizard is the latest of a long line of former college star quarterbacks looking for one more chance in the NFL while serving as a mini camp additional arm.  Last year it was the Jacksonville Jaguars bringing in former 1999 first player select Tim Couch and not too long ago the Raiders gave chances to graybeard first round washouts Jeff George and Andre Ware.  

To say the least Crouch’s career going from former poster boy quarterback to Pro Day thrower has been quite circuitous, making you wonder what his career would have been like if he had just stuck with being a wide receiver (3rd Round selection by St. Louis Rams in 2003) instead of quitting the team and he said football all together due to a hamstring injury in the first week of training camp.  After his brief retirement, the “football itch” led Crouch back only to be spurned by the Rams and then sending him on a journey that led to him showing up at Nebraska rival school Oklahoma for Kelly’s workout — tried out unsuccessfully for the Packers as a quarterback, played safety for the Hamburg Sea Devils of the defunct NFL Europe then his assigning team the Kansas Chiefs cut him in training camp, served as a backup quarterback in the Canadian Football League, and signing on with the All-American Football League only to see the AAFL postponed before its inaugural season.

Even though he has run a successful business selling recreational equipment, Crouch wants one more chance.   Saying in an interview after his workout “I think I would’ve turned down the offer to come out here and throw to Malcolm if I wasn’t still interested in playing. Since I was in shape and throwing it was a good opportunity for me and for Malcolm. I still believe in my abilities to throw the football; that’s the reason I’m here. I truly believe that this is the place (the NFL) for me as far as my professional career is concerned, so if I get an opportunity out of this that would be great, and if not, I’m OK with that”.

I know he definitely thinks that walking out on the Rams and the NFL in 2003 was not the right choice, but he has to live with it.  In my opinion, I think if Crouch can still run in the 4.4 range as he did coming out of college that he should get an opportunity to tryout for an NFL team.  At 29, he is definitely a long shot especially at quarterback, where throwing the ball has never been his strong point.  But with his exceptional speed he could still get a look as a third down back/return man. Unfortunately for the Nebraska legend the phone may never ring and like many other talented college football players — see Gino Torretta, Rashaan Salam, Curtis Enis, Brian Bosworth and many others – he may quickly learn that the NFL doesn’t give many second chances to Saturday afternoon matinee idols.

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2 Responses

  1. Please 4.6 in the 40 won’t cut the mustard in the Big 12.

  2. crouch ran faster than kelly heh

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