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Tuesday, July 22
Updated: July 23, 3:36 AM ET
 
Ex-Heisman winner walks out on Packers

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Eric Crouch has quit the NFL for the second time in 11 months.

The 2001 Heisman Trophy winner from Nebraska left the Green Bay Packers on the eve of full-squad workouts, which began Tuesday. He had hoped to win a job as one of Brett Favre's backups but coach Mike Sherman said he had little chance at beating out the three QBs ahead of him in that race.

Crouch sat out last season after the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the third round and tried to convert him into a wide receiver.

He was set to play quarterback in the Canadian Football League, which he thought could be a springboard to a career as an NFL quarterback, when the Packers claimed him off waivers this spring.

He left camp Monday night after speaking with Sherman and the Packers placed him on the reserve/retired list, retaining his rights.

"We really didn't get into detail. He just said for personal reasons he didn't want to continue. I said OK and we'll leave it at that,'' Sherman said.

"It's disappointing that it didn't work out for us and for him. But we didn't have a whole lot invested in him. He's a good kid, we wish him well."

The Packers had hoped Crouch be a return specialist this year and learn the West Coast offense by next season as a quarterback.

But after claiming him on April 23, the Packers signed Akili Smith, who will vie for the backup quarterback job with incumbent Doug Pederson and second-year pro Craig Nall.

Crouch, who last worked as a quarterback in the option offense with the Cornhuskers, didn't make much of an impression as a kick returner, either.

Crouch told Omaha television station KPTM Tuesday night that he's probably through playing football.

"Yeah, I think so,'' Crouch said. "I'm ready to move on. I've been a football player for a long time. I've loved it. It's been a lot of fun.''

Crouch, who got married in May and has a daughter, said he sensed that he would be required to play in NFL's developmental league in Europe next year.

"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.''

Only the third Division I player to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards, Crouch had mixed results at the team's minicamp last month when precise, hard-thrown balls down the seam were negated by interceptions over the middle and passes batted down at the line.

Sherman said Crouch simply wasn't going to win a quarterback job in Green Bay this season.

"He's so far behind. When he came in here, it was pretty much going to be relegated to cleaning up a little bit and maybe some practice squad snaps and working into next season in the offseason," Sherman said.

"That was really what we were shooting for because he hadn't been a quarterback in the National Football League in this type of offense. The reality of it was he had quite a few steps to take before that would even happen."

Sherman suggested Crouch didn't have much of a chance as a kick returner, either.

"We put him back there a couple times and he wasn't natural, put it that way," Sherman said. "I don't think our fans would have been jumping up and down to see him drop a couple of them in practice."




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