Heisman winner Crouch to RamsPosted: Sunday April 21, 2002 10:45 AM
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch is excited about the next stage of his career, but it won't be as a quarterback.
The St. Louis Rams chose the Nebraska signal-caller in the third round of the NFL draft Saturday with the 95th overall pick.
St. Louis already has one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Kurt Warner, and the undersized Crouch will probably be shifted to running back or wide receiver to take advantage of his running ability.
"All this was new to me, but I've been practicing and watching tape and been out on the field catching balls, probably more than throwing," Crouch said. "I've done everything I possibly could to get better, and now it's time to find a new place."
Crouch could possibly fit into the offense in a "slash" role or as a third-down slot receiver. He might make a dangerous punt returner, too.
"I think I'm a quick learner and I picked up things fast at Nebraska, and that's a pretty complicated offense," he said.
Whatever role Crouch winds up with, it's time to leave the Heisman behind.
"You're definitely right," he said. "The Heisman was not a goal of mine, but it's something that came along with playing good football. I've set it aside and my goals are to become a great player in the NFL."
Rams head coach Mike Martz was hoping Crouch would last this long.
"He was a favorite of mine," Martz said. "I was excited about Eric all along. The projection for me is very, very easy to see."
Crouch actually has some experience as a college receiver. He opened his sophomore season as a wingback and Bobby Newcombe's backup at quarterback, but took over the position after two games and led Nebraska to a 12-1 finish.
Crouch said the most interest came from the Rams, Chiefs and Packers, although a dozen or so other teams called.
"I didn't know how serious each team was," Crouch said. "But I found a place that was close to home, and I'm going to make the most of it."
Crouch was as much of a running threat as a passing threat in college, averaging 5.3 yards on 648 career carries and 59 touchdowns. That's 10 more than any other Division I-A quarterback.
He threw 606 passes in his college career, only 73 more than No. 1 overall pick David Carr had last season at Fresno State.
Crouch was the first Heisman Trophy winner taken by the Rams since Doug Flutie in the 11th round of the 1985 draft.