Apr 29, 2005, 12:22 PM EDT
In the NFL success breeds imitations and the success of San Diego tight end Antonio Gates, a college basketball player who became an NFL star at tight end is no exception. The Redskins certainly aren’t shy about hopping aboard that bandwagon, inviting Pittsburgh hoopster Chevon Troutman to their combination rookie minicamp and tryout this weekend. Troutman, 6-7, 240, last played football in high school.
And that likely will stand as his last gridiron action as it was announced that Troutman will not be invited to training camp in August.
As an NBA ‘tweener, not quick enough to be an effective small forward and not quite big enough to be a power forward, Troutman was pursuing alternate means of employment as an athlete. The Redskins looked at his size, watched tapes of him grabbing the ball in heavy traffic, envisioned a few dozen pounds of bulk added to his frame and sent him an invite to come to the tryout portion of the rookie camp.
Troutman had a bit to say after being told that his tryout was over after one day:
When they first threw everything at me, it looked like Spanish or something. I feel like I can play in the NFL. I just need a little bit of time to learn everything.
If you’re going to Spain, it’s probably a good idea to study up on a little Spanish. If you’re going to be a football player, it’s probably a good idea to learn a little NFL lingo.
At least one writer who knows Troutman well called the result of Troutman’s dalliance in the NFL earlier this week.
In a column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Ron Cook tells of a brief chat he had with Troutman during the recent NCAA basketball tournament:
It was in Boise, Idaho, last month, during a quiet moment between the time Chevon Troutman was panting over the Boise State women gymnasts and turning his attention to Pacific, Pitt’s opponent the next morning in the NCAA tournament. There was a sense this might be it for Troutman as a college basketball player. Pitt wasn’t playing well and had lost four of its previous six games. The next loss would send the players scattering. Just in case, I took the opportunity to wish Troutman well in his football career.
‘Football? I’m not going to play football,’ he said. ‘I don’t like football. I’m going to play basketball.’
It’s hard to play NFL football because you want a high-paying job. There has to be a love for the sport, a willingness to prepare endlessly for those three hours on Sunday. In short, you have to have a passion for the sport and it doesn’t appear that Troutman has that. From Cook’s column:
Troutman tried football his junior year of high school in Williamsport only after insistence from friends and coaches. By all accounts, he was a fine defensive end, raw but so athletic. But he played just that one season. Sure, he wanted to concentrate on basketball. But he also has said he got tired of getting “dirty.”
Tired of getting dirty? Doesn’t sound much like Donnie Warren or Terry Orr, does it?
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