Olympic skier Bloom agrees to terms with Eagles
Former Olympic moguls skier Jeremy Bloom, who was selected in the fifth round of this year's draft by the Philadelphia Eagles despite having not played football since 2003, on Monday reached an agreement on his first professional football contract.
The 147th player chosen, Bloom will sign a four-year, $1.782 million contract. The deal includes a $172,000 signing bonus and minimum base salaries for all four seasons. Bloom will have an opportunity to increase his 2009 base salary, scheduled to be $530,000, through "escalators" that are based on playing time, performance levels and Pro Bowl honors.
Bloom, 24, is the fourth of the Eagles' eight draft choices to come to contract terms. Earlier on Monday, the team signed fourth-round choice Max Jean-Gilles, a guard from the University of Georgia who is expected to contend for playing time as a rookie.
Eagles coaches are hoping Bloom, who left the University of Colorado football team after losing an eligibility appeal with the NCAA over endorsement money he accepted to help fund his skiing career, will be able to contribute on special teams, particularly as a punt returner. The Eagles averaged 8.5 yards on punt returns last season, 12th in the league.
Some NFL teams were concerned about Bloom's lack of size (5-foot-9, 173 pounds) and his hiatus from the game before the draft. Those issues did not preclude the Eagles from choosing him, although he did miss time this spring because of a hamstring injury.
During his truncated college career, spanning only 25 appearances, Bloom demonstrated dynamic big-play skills, scoring five times on plays of more than 75 yards.
He caught 24 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns and carried 16 times for 93 yards. On special teams, Bloom averaged 13.5 yards on 47 punt returns and scored twice, and he averaged 25.1 yards on kickoff returns with one touchdown. For his career, Bloom averaged 16.2 yards every time he touched the ball.
Bloom was part of the U.S. freestyle skiing team in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics but did not win a medal in either Games.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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