Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I am the stuff of legend. It's in print.

Published from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- basically another article talking about how much I rule as a skier, model, football player and as a man.

He is a champion skier (Salt Lake City Olympics, 2002) and a male model. "I just try to concentrate on myself and what I can do with the opportunity. I might not have that pedigree of a typical returner, but I can do it and I think I can help as a receiver, too."

In a week in which no one has exactly sprung to the top of the depth chart in the return game, Bloom's quickness stood out. He's got a little wiggle, and his speed is the stuff of Big 12 legend.

After deferring his scholarship to Colorado so that he could make the U.S. Olympic ski team, Bloom returned a punt 75 yards to score the first time he touched the football in college. His biggest plays seemed to come against the fastest opponents, making him conspicuous enough that the Philadelphia Eagles took him in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. He tore a hamstring, got released a year later, and still is working through the difficult physiological transition that afflicts everyone who goes from being a world-class skier to a pro football player, all one of them.

"They couldn't be more different," Bloom said of his two sports. "It's not like comparing football and baseball or football and track. In skiing, you don't run, so all of the little muscles that enable you to run, you kind of take them for granted. And I did."

The Steelers took for granted a year ago that Allan (rhymes with but is not a synonym for awesome) Rossum would solve their disastrous punt-return profile, but Rossum's average of 6.4 yards was downright feeble compared to the league average (9.1), to say nothing of any outrageous comparison to people like Chicago's Devin Hester (15.5) and Buffalo's Roscoe Parrish (16.3). Only the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders, who won 11 games between them, averaged fewer yards on punt returns last year than the Steelers.

Bloom settled under punts again yesterday with rookie corner Travis Williams, third-year enigma Willie Reid, who can't seem to catch one without an audible clack from the front of his shoulder pads, and Santonio Holmes, the last human to return a punt for a touchdown in a Steelers uniform (Dec. 17, 2006 at Carolina). Holmes isn't taking a regular turn in that rotation and doubts Tomlin is going to deploy him as such.

Mewelde Moore, the free-agent signee from the Minnesota Vikings, can return kicks and might make a roster spot for Bloom impossible, but he missed practice yesterday with an illness Tomlin didn't identify.

Based on the current karma, perhaps it was an acute ennui.

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