Ed Thompson: Some of our fans might not be familiar with your alma mater, John Carroll University. Can you tell them about it?
Tom Arth: It's a Division III school in the Ohio Athletic Conference. It's considered to be the best Division III conference in the country. We had winning teams all four years, which was great to be a part of. In my senior year, we made it to the final four before losing to Mount Union -- who eventually won the national championship. It was a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Ed: At what point did you learn about the Colts' interest in you?
Tom: Pretty early on, just after my junior year or during our summer camp before my senior year. I think they had a couple of scouts come out, watch practice and some tape in our coach's office.
Ed: Did you draw interest from other teams?
Tom: In training camp during our double sessions there were a lot of teams coming out -- and even during the first few weeks of the season they were coming to games. But unfortunately I got injured -- I think the sixth game of the season -- and after that it really tailed off. But the Colts were one team that remained interested the entire time.
Ed: You spent two years in NFL Europe. How did those two years differ for you?
Tom: The first year I didn't really know what to expect. Going into my second year, I had a really good training camp, I was familiar with the system. I was in the same offense that I was in the previous year. I better understood what the whole league was about and felt more like a veteran. Everyone else was coming in like they didn't know what was going on. It made it a little bit easier for me.
Ed: You didn't get as much playing time as you wanted to this past season in NFL Europe. But in the last game of the year, you hooked up on a 95-yard touchdown pass with Terrence Metcalf. Did you feel as though that play sent a message of what "could have been" had they given you more opportunity to play?
Tom: I think it did. I felt I had a great training camp and had earned the opportunity to play during the season. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it didn't happen. I didn't get as much playing time as I had hoped, but the chance I did get, I feel I made the most of. I got better as a player by being over there even though I didn't get to play in many games. I got to work out at practice every day and went out with the goal in mind to get better in one aspect of my game each day....and I was able to accomplish that. So it was still a good experience.
Ed: Do you think it's an advantage to play in NFL Europe even though you miss the Colts' mini-camp and summer school program?
Tom: Sure. For a person like me, I think it is because coming from Division III where we don't really play against NFL-caliber players, it's a great opportunity to go over to NFL Europe and play with guys who are athletic enough and have the skill to play in the NFL who just need to develop and learn. For me, it was a great experience and hopefully being over there for two years will help me out in training camp this year and to eventually earn a roster spot.
Check back next week for part two of Tom's interview exclusively for our Premium Members where he'll focus on his role with the Colts during the past two years and his thoughts about the quarterbacks heading into this year's training camp.