WR figures to be used primarily on returns

Jeremy Bloom, ruled ineligible to play football during his final two seasons at Colorado, was drafted in the fifth round by Philly.

Originally Published: April 30, 2006
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Unlike most players who slip down the slope of the second day of the NFL draft, no one enjoyed the ride more than Jeremy Bloom. He's finally made the NFL as a fifth-round choice of the Philadelphia Eagles.

"My emotions are going right now," Bloom said Sunday. "I had no idea where I was going. This is an emotional moment."

Jeremy Bloom
Bloom

Bloom missed the past two football seasons at Colorado after the NCAA ruled he couldn't accept endorsements to ski and still maintain his amateur status. Bloom, a mogul and free-style skier, competed in the Olympic Games in February. To professionally ski at Bloom's level, endorsements are needed. It was those endorsements that ended his college football career.

Yet, his ability to adapt and react quickly has him a step closer to an NFL career.

Mogul skiers have to make turns quickly, and after the Olympics, the turns were faster than he expected. The Olympics ended just a few days before the NFL scouting combine. Bloom, who was 17 pounds lighter than his projected NFL playing weight, not only had to overcome a slight quad pull, but also had to get used to training for football -- not the slopes.

To medal before scouts and coaches in the NFL, players have to run. Though Bloom ran in the 4.4s for the 40-yard dash, he struggled. Still, he kept training and waiting. That wait finally ended Sunday.

He was the 147th player selected in the draft and couldn't have been happier. NFL Films had cameras at his home when he was chosen. It was a celebration. But at no point did Bloom think about what could have been had the NCAA not interceded in his dream to finish his college football career.

During his first two years at Colorado, he was on pace to be an incredible big-play receiver. He averaged 16.2 yards a catch as a sophomore. Overall, he caught 24 passes for an average of 19.1 yards per catch, returned 47 punts at 13.5 yards per return and 25 kickoffs at 25.1 yards per return. He had an amazing five touchdowns of 75 yards or more.

Still, Bloom didn't reflect with bitterness. Even though he was sure to be Colorado's No. 1 receiver, Bloom hit the slopes and waited for his chance in the Olympics.

"I wouldn't trade the past two years for being a No. 1 pick," Bloom said of his success in skiing. "The NCAA showed me the door on college football and caused me to miss my final two years of football. But I can't take away the experiences I had during the past two years. I'm happy being a fifth-round pick."

His memories included being a three-time world champion on the slopes. He has two World Cups and one world championship. The only thing he didn't win was Olympic gold.

"I have my share of victories and certainly my share of defeats in the sport," Bloom told the media in a conference call. "But it's been a blessing to do the things I have done in skiing."

Once he was selected, Bloom looked forward to what's expected in the NFL. For the most part, he will be returning punts with the Eagles and trying to develop into a fourth receiver. Returns are his specialty. The Steelers looked at him and reportedly suggested that Bloom might go as high as the fourth round, largely because of his return abilities.

"Once the Steelers traded up to get Santonio Holmes, I knew there wasn't going to be a great chance for me going to Pittsburgh," Bloom said. "I'm happy to go with the Eagles. John Harbaugh (the Eagles special teams coach) ran my workout. I thought he'd be a coach I would love to play for."

That said, Bloom isn't restricting his ambitions to special teams.

"I don't place any limitations on myself on anything I can do," Bloom said. "I don't know what my limitations are. I'm going to go into Philadelphia and take my work ethic and make everything work."

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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