Packers granting Crouch his wish

Though he's considered a longshot to make the team, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Eric Crouch will try to resurrect his football career with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers claimed Crouch on waivers Wednesday from the St. Louis Rams.<p>

Crouch was selected in the third round by the Rams during last year's NFL draft, but abruptly retired prior to the 2003 season and gave back his signing bonus of more than $300,000 to the Rams. At the time the Rams wanted Crouch to play wide receiver and return punts, but he preferred to play quarterback.

When he retired, Crouch said he would only return to the NFL if given a chance to play quarterback. But many NFL scouts and observers have suggested that he would be better off playing wide receiver, running back or safety because he has not proven himself as a passer.

"If I play again I'd definitely say it would be as a quarterback," Crouch said in October. "My whole life, I've been a quarterback. My best football is when the ball's in my hands and I have some control over what happens."

The former Nebraska Cornhusker is still on the reserve-retired list, where he will remain unless or until he submits a letter to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue requesting to have his name removed from the list, according to the Packers.

Crouch joins free agent Zak Kustok and Craig Nall as backup quarterbacks to Brett Favre. Doug Pederson, Favre's backup last year, has not been re-signed. The Packers are expected to select a quarterback in this weekend's NFL draft.

Crouch holds the NCAA record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (59) and holds Nebraska's school record for total offense (7,915 yards).

In his final season at Nebraska, Crouch completed 105 of 189 passes for 1,510 and seven touchdowns, completing 55.6 percent of his passes. He ran for 1,115 yards on 203 carries for a 5.5 per-carry average and scored 18 touchdowns.

Crouch would become the sixth Heisman Trophy winner to play for the Packers, joining Bruce Smith (1941), Paul Hornung (1956), Ty Detmer (1990), Desmond Howard (1991) and Danny Wuerffel (1996).


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