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Yahoo Sports: Bloom arrives at combine ready to change gears


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Thought people might like this article since we've been talking a little about him.

Article is here.

Bloom arrives at combine ready to change gears

By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer

February 24, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Jeremy Bloom walked to the podium Friday wearing the appropriate attire and buoyed by excitement at finally getting a chance to play football.

Or at least work out at it.

His gray sweatshirt had the usual NFL scouting combine lettering "WO 8" while His blue sweat pants were words that don't fith the NFL: "USA Team 2006."

Welcome to double duty, Olympian.

"Oh man, I'm on top of the world," Bloom said, three days after arriving in Indianapolis to chase his other passion -- football. "I dreamed big as a kid, but I never dreamed that in a span of one week, I'd be competing in the Olympics and at the NFL combine."

Bloom finished sixth in the Olympic moguls last week in Turin, Italy. By Friday, he was undergoing the usual routine of the medical checks, poking and prodding that more than 300 invitees endure in Indy.

The difference for Bloom: He may be the unlikeliest NFL prospect in town.

Bloom hasn't played football in two years, since losing an eligibility battle with the NCAA after accepting endorsement money to fund his freestyle skiing career -- a decision that still irks him.

"Football has been a huge passion of mine since I was a kid, and, unfortunately, I had it taken away from me by the NCAA," he said. "But they're not in the building today."

Bloom appeared to be suffering from jet lag. He appeared tired as he asked reporters what day it was and jokingly wondered whether it was 3 a.m. when it was really midafternoon.

His whirlwind travels included a trip to a shoe store where he finally found a pair of cleats so he could run the 40-yard dash Saturday.

On Friday, it was more mundane. He measured in at 5-foot-9, 173 pounds, tiny by NFL standards -- even for a wide receiver or punt returner. He said he hopes to add about 15 pounds before his personal workout in California, and answered questions for about 15 minutes, explaining why he looked so small.

"That's my ski weight," he said. "Skiing is kind of a bell curve of speed and weight, so I have to basically starve myself to get to 170."

If Bloom does make it in the NFL, his life will likely undergo a dramatic change.

After spending much of his life pursuing Olympic gold, he has now focused on his other passion -- football. Bloom understands that most NFL teams would want any contract he signs to include a provision limiting or eliminating his time on the slopes to prevent injury.

It's a sacrifice he's willing to accept.

"I'm sure they will, and I would expect them to do that," Bloom said. "I'm fine with anything."

He hopes to make that clear Saturday when he participates in the brutal workout schedule.

But in an environment where he is surrounded by Heisman winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, and college football's top players, Bloom remains one of the combine's top stars.

"Most of the guys all want to know what it's like to be in the Olympics," he said. "When you're in a room with Leinart and LenDale White and Vince Young and they say 'I have a lot of respect for you,' I'm just like 'I have tons of respect for you.' "

Now Bloom wants to focus on a world that includes a different kind of helmet and pads, and scouts hope they'll see more than mere potential when Bloom steps onto the field Saturday for the first time since last summer.

"You've got to look at football," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. "The bottom line is his ability to play football. You're going to go back to look at his football skills, then of course, everything here becomes a plus."

To Bloom, the Olympic experience is something he wouldn't trade -- despite failing to medal in Turin. He doesn't even consider the result a disappointment.

But now it's time to turn the page, to begin a new career and to show the world he's more than an Olympic skier.

"This is America and football is the big daddy in this culture," he said. "Competitive skiing is really not on the radar here.

"There's only one way to prove my commitment to football and that's with my work ethic on the field. I don't see myself going back to skiing because I've accomplished everything I wanted to and more. This is my challenge now."

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The guy is tiny, but supposedly fast as hell. I know when he was in college he was a play maker but considering he has been away from football it may be hard justifying a team spending a pick on him.

With the success of Santana and Steve Smith this past season teams may not be so hesitant to take a mini WR.

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