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Moguls to the combine

Bloom ready to change gears

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jeremy Bloom walked to the podium Friday wearing the appropriate attire and buoyed by excitement at finally getting a chance to play football.

Or at least work out at it.

His gray sweatshirt had the usual NFL scouting combine lettering "WO 8" while His blue sweat pants were words that don't fith the NFL: "USA Team 2006."

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Welcome to double duty, Olympian.

"Oh man, I'm on top of the world," Bloom said, three days after arriving in Indianapolis to chase his other passion -- football. "I dreamed big as a kid, but I never dreamed that in a span of one week, I'd be competing in the Olympics and at the NFL combine."

Bloom finished sixth in the Olympic moguls last week in Turin, Italy. By Friday, he was undergoing the usual routine of the medical checks, poking and prodding that more than 300 invitees endure in Indy.

The difference for Bloom: He may be the unlikeliest NFL prospect in town.

Bloom hasn't played football in two years, since losing an eligibility battle with the NCAA after accepting endorsement money to fund his freestyle skiing career -- a decision that still irks him.

"Football has been a huge passion of mine since I was a kid, and, unfortunately, I had it taken away from me by the NCAA," he said. "But they're not in the building today."

Bloom appeared to be suffering from jet lag. He appeared tired as he asked reporters what day it was and jokingly wondered whether it was 3 a.m. when it was really midafternoon.

His whirlwind travels included a trip to a shoe store where he finally found a pair of cleats so he could run the 40-yard dash Saturday.

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On Friday, it was more mundanm. He measured in at 5-foot-9, 173 pounds, tiny by NFL standards -- even for a wide receiver or punt returner. He said he hopes to add about 15 pounds before his personal workout in California, and answered questions for about 15 minutes, explaining why he looked so small.

"That's my ski weight," he said. "Skiing is kind of a bell curve of speed and weight, so I have to basically starve myself to get to 170."

If Bloom does make it in the NFL, his life will likely undergo a dramatic change.

After spending much of his life pursuing Olympic gold, he has now focused on his other passion -- football. Bloom understands that most NFL teams would want any contract he signs to include a provision limiting or eliminating his time on the slopes to prevent injury.

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