Shelton faces tough decision about future

University of Louisville junior running back Eric Shelton will likely make a decision about his future and whether not he'll return for his senior season in the next few days.

Last month, University of Louisville junior running back Eric Shelton sent papers to the NFL Draft Advisory Board to determine his status should he elect to forego his final season of collegiate eligibility and declare himself eligible for the 2005 NFL Draft.

Shelton, who rushed for 938 yards and 20 touchdowns this season and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Liberty Bowl victory over Boise State Friday, likely will come to a decision about his future in the next couple days after speaking with U of L coach Bobby Petrino about his options.

"I have had conversations with Eric," Petrino said Monday afternoon. "I did speak to the league office today and have not been able to get back to Eric on what his draft status is."

Petrino indicated that Shleton, a fourth year junior who transferred to U of L from Florida State, has a strong interest in turning pro and said that he'd discuss the situation with his standout ball carrier this afternoon.

"I know he has a strong interest in coming out and he's got some decisions to make here soon," Petrino said. "I will talk to him this afternoon."

Asked what he thinks Shelton will decide, Petrino said he simply didn't know. Earlier indications from sources at U of L indicated that Shleton would return next season unless he felt certain to be taken in the first two or three rounds of this spring's NFL draft. Though Petrino didn't divulge where Shelton is projected, it appears a close call whether or not the 6-3, 250-pound back will be a first day selection.

"I'm not sure," Petrino said when asked what he thought Shelton would ultimately decide. "The information I got back from the league office is that Eric is going to have a tough decision to make whether he comes out or stays."

Shelton has until January 15 to declare his intention to be eligible for the 2005 NFL Draft.

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