April 10, 2007
The dream of playing in the National Football League for former Eastern Washington University quarterback Erik Meyer is alive and well.
After an impressive pre-season training camp in Florida, the 2005 Walter Payton Award winner made the roster of the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europa when final cuts were announced last week in Tampa. Meyer has even made a case for a starting position when the Centurions open the season April 14 against the Hamburg Sea Devils.
In his final scrimmage of training camp, he completed 4-of-5 passes for 79 yards, with completions of 20, 21 and 31 yards. He was also 3-of-3 in a previous scrimmage, and had a touchdown pass in another outing.
"He's a phenomenal football player when the game is played in a live, game situation," Eastern head coach Paul Wulff said of Meyer before NFL Europa training camp began in March. "He is twice the game-day player as he is a practice player. His strengths really show up when he's in a game. When we were behind or in games with a lot on the line, he put the team on his back and carried them. He can do that at any level. That's just his personality and competitive nature."
Meyer originally signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006, but was cut before the season on Aug. 20 after seeing minimal playing time in the pre-season. He was signed by Cologne as a free agent in February 2007.
Meyer was a two-time All-American at EWU, and was named the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Meyer became just the 12th player in I-AA history to throw for at least 4,000 yards in a single season (he finished with 4,003). He also had 30 touchdowns, just five interceptions and a passing efficiency rating of 169.3.
With a completion percentage of .657, 10,261 yards, 84 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions in 42 career games, Meyer broke the I-AA record for efficiency rating by quarterbacks with at least 400 completions with a rating of 166.47. Meyer became just the 17th player in I-AA history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career.
The other quarterback on Cologne's roster is Quinton Porter out of Boston College. He was a practice squad player for the Houston Texans last season and was allocated to Cologne by the NFL club.
The two quarterbacks cut included Gino Guidugli and Paul Pinegar. Guidugli played college football at Cincinnati and was signed and released by the Tennessee Titans in 2005. Pinegar played at Fresno State and signed a free agent contract with Jacksonville in 2006 before getting released.
The head coach for the Centurions is David Duggan. The team's offensive line coach is former Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Tom Lovat, whose nephew Darin Lovat is Eastern's strength and conditioning director.
Each NFL Europa club carries 40 American players (36 active, two league active, two practice squad) and eight international athletes. League active players can perform for their NFL Europa club but remain the property of the league and can be reassigned should a need arise at another team. Practice squad players practice with their NFL Europa team but are inactive on gamedays.
The 2007 NFL Europa season kicks off on Saturday April 14 and concludes with Yello Strom World Bowl XV on Saturday June 23.
Former Eagle Jesse Chatman was also at the NFL Europa training camp with the Franfurt Galaxy, but left the squad before the final cuts were announced. He played four seasons in the NFL, including his first three with the San Diego Chargers where he was the backup to All-Pro LaDainian Tomlinson.