Crouch attempting comeback

Eric Crouch will be making a third attempt to prove that he can play in the National Football League, this time as a defensive back.<p>

"It's a position I played in high school," said Crouch, who played at Millard North before going to Nebraska and winning the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback in 2001.

Crouch was drafted in the third round by the St. Louis Rams but quit during training camp because of injuries as the Rams tried to convert him into a wide receiver.

The Green Bay Packers picked up Crouch in April last year and gave him a shot at quarterback and special teams. But Crouch quit the Packers just before training camp began and said he was ready to retire from football.

To be certain, Crouch faced an arduous climb to make the Packers' roster. But for a team craving a kick returner, the opportunity was there to make the team. At worst, he was a candidate for the practice squad, which would have given him a year to hone his passing skills. Instead, Crouch dropped football like a bad habit.

"Do I want to accept a practice-player job and go to Europe the following year, which means being away from the family?" Crouch said. "I wasn't ready to make that sacrifice, being away from the family that long. It didn't feel right."

At Nebraska, an unproven Crouch quit after being beat out by Bobby Newcombe. The coaching staff convinced Crouch to come back to the team, and after Newcombe faltered, Crouch became a star.

Green Bay coach Mike Sherman said Crouch was far behind in his quarterback development and was having difficulty getting comfortable as a kick returner.

Now, Crouch said he is talking with the Packers about returning as a defensive back. If the Packers don't take him, Crouch said, he would be interested in playing for other teams.

Crouch said he is ready to get back into the game. Crouch also said he does not want to look back and wonder if he failed to exhaust all his possibilities as a professional football player.


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