Opportunity lost, this time in Green Bay
Turns out the third time around was no charm, either, for Eric Crouch.
In what might be the final chapter of the fractured NFL trilogy he authored, Crouch was released Wednesday by the Green Bay Packers, only about 2½ months after he decided to resume his football career.
The 2001 Heisman Trophy winner out of Nebraska, who twice previously bolted NFL training camps and seemed to be retired from the game for good, had been reinstated by Green Bay from the reserve/retired list on March 23 and was participating in the Packers' conditioning program and spring minicamps, working as a safety.
Packers coaches decided, however, that Crouch had not made sufficient progress to warrant bringing him to training camp. Coach Mike Sherman did not immediately comment on the decision to release Crouch.
Crouch, 25, had been considering another shot at the NFL for a few months before rejoining the Packers in March. Green Bay essentially had no risk because Crouch was to earn the rookie minimum base salary of $230,000 if he made the team, and it did not invest a signing bonus in him.
Crouch was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2002 draft and signed a three-year, $1.3 million contract to play wide receiver. But late in camp, and still with an opportunity to make the team or the practice squad, he left the Rams, citing the difficulties of making the transition to receiver.
After the Rams relinquished his rights, the Packers claimed him on waivers last spring, and Green Bay officials offered Crouch a chance to play quarterback. But with a crowded depth chart, and the fact he was slowed by injuries, Crouch walked away from the team two days into camp.
In the past, CFL teams have made overtures to Crouch, but he has steadfastly declined to go to Canada even if to play only quarterback.
Crouch had a celebrated college career in which he finished as one of only 13 players to rush and pass for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He's one of only three Division I-A players to throw for 4,000 yards and run for 3,000 in his career and he also holds the NCAA career record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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