ESPN.com will catch up with a notable sports figure from yesteryear each Thursday in its "Where Are They Now?" series.
Claim to fame: A gifted runner with tremendous instincts, Eric Crouch put his stamp on college football by quarterbacking the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the national championship game and capturing the Heisman Trophy in 2001.
Crouch didn't compile dazzling passing statistics as a collegian, but that wasn't his job in Nebraska's option-oriented offense. He was, however, a force with his legs. During his four seasons with the Huskers, Crouch racked up 3,434 yards and 59 touchdowns as a rusher. As a senior, he passed for 1,510 yards and rushed for 1,115 yards. He recorded 18 touchdowns on the ground that season and added a 63-yard touchdown reception for good measure.
To say he left an indelible mark at Nebraska is an understatement, as his name appears 167 times in the program's 2015 football record book. The Huskers retired his No. 7 jersey and inducted him into the school's football hall of fame in 2002.
The St. Louis Rams selected Crouch in the third round of the 2002 NFL draft, intending to use him as a receiver. He went through training camp but decided to leave the team and return a $395,000 signing bonus before the season opener. He later spent time with the Green Bay Packers (as a quarterback and safety) and the Kansas City Chiefs (safety), although he didn't appear in a regular-season game. He played the 2005 season as Chiefs property with the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe.
Crouch spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons as a quarterback with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He was poised to quarterback the Houston franchise of the All-American Football League in the spring of 2008, but the league never got off the ground. Crouch finally got the opportunity to start his first professional game under center with the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks in 2011. Unfortunately, he tore the meniscus in his left knee in that game and missed the remainder of the season.
Catching up: Crouch, 37, lives in Omaha with wife Nicole, daughter Alexi and son Carsen. Eric and Nicole manage Crouch Recreation, a business they purchased in 2004. The firm designs, builds and furnishes playground projects for parks, schools, churches and other organizations in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
He admits the idea of becoming a business owner at age 25 initially gave him pause. "I wanted to play football still," Crouch said. "That was a big hesitation." Nevertheless, he juggled business and a playing career for several years, including designing playgrounds on a computer late at night in Germany when many of his NFL Europe teammates were partying.
Both Crouch children play sports. Alexi is a high school junior who competes in volleyball and track, while Carsen is a sixth-grader who plays football, basketball, soccer and golf.
Crouch is involved in the Elkhorn Athletic Association, helping to unify several youth sports organizations in that section of Omaha to share resources across leagues. He also has coached Carsen's football team for the past two seasons. Crouch said he doesn't emphasize wins and losses -- the players are already aware of that -- instead focusing on effort and improvement. "You realize how emotional the game is no matter what age group you're playing with," Crouch said. "We're trying to continue to build their confidence in themselves."
Crouch also worked as a college football analyst for Fox Sports and Big Ten Network in recent years.
Quotable: "I had no problems [playing a position other than quarterback] if that was what I needed to do to help [the team]. What I found out is that I always caught myself glancing over at the quarterbacks in practice and wishing that I was throwing the football and in on those quarterback meetings. ... I always felt I had more to offer the team as a leader. I thought I was good at leading, calling plays and being responsible for winning and losing with the ball in my hands. I was never able to get over that."
What's next? Crouch is focused on continuing to grow his business and spending time with his family. He said it's likely he will stick with coaching, possibly at the high school level. "It's a chess match out there," Crouch said. "All the knowledge I've picked up and all the places I've played, it's fun to be able to use that and watch the kids go out and execute it."
Have a suggestion for a "Where Are They Now?" subject? Tweet to the writer @tnn95.