The Dallas Cowboys have signed tight end Scott Sicko of Stillwater, three days after the New Hampshire player said he was turning down the NFL to go to graduate school.
Sicko, a graduate of LaSalle Institute in Troy, signed a free-agent contract Tuesday, reversing course on a decision that he wouldn’t pursue NFL offers after he wasn’t taken in the draft.
The 6-foot-4, 251-pound Sicko caused an Internet stir with his announcement Saturday. The Chargers, Cowboys, Chiefs, Jaguars and Jets called him that night with contract offers.
Some applauded the 22-year-old’s focus on academics, while others blasted him for passing on a rare opportunity.
“What can I say?” Sicko told Peter King of SI.com. “I changed my mind. I got very comfortable with the Cowboys over the last couple of days. And I made a compromise with myself.”
Conversations with Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and tight ends coach John Garrett helped sway Sicko, a Division I-FCS first-team All-America tight end who had 57 catches for 725 yards and nine touchdowns for New Hampshire last season.
“Over the last couple of days, I had a few conversations with the Cowboys and I talked to my agent a couple of times,” Sicko said. “They made me feel good about giving football a chance, and that it would not ruin my plans for the rest of my life.
“Basically, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I realize I can probably do both and still accomplish my career goals.”
If Sicko makes the team, he will begin pursuing his graduate degree through online courseS. If not, he will enroll in graduate school.
“After Scott initially decided not to play football and pursue his graduate studies, the Cowboys, as well as other teams, continued to pursue him,” his agent, J.R. Rickert, wrote in an e-mail to FOXsports.-com. “We maintained active dialogue with the Cowboys and they also continued to speak to Scott. After considering all factors, Scott has decided to become a member of the Cowboys.”
Sicko’s initial decision to end his football career and focus his energy in graduate studies drew considerable criticism, primarily on radio talk shows and Internet postings.
“I really didn’t read about it very much, but friends of mine told me what was out there,” Sicko told SI.com. “I try not to let outside forces influence my life. The Cowboys called and reiterated their interest in me, and their coaches said they were interested in me as a player and person, and that made me feel good. I don’t see this as anything that will be hurtful in my life.”
BUCS INVITE McCARTY
ALBANY — Another LaSalle Institute product, University at Albany senior David McCarty, will attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie mini-camp this weekend. The first practice is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
The 6-foot, 215-pound McCarty is the Great Danes’ career rushing leader with 4,287 yards, and is also the career leader in all-purpose yards (4,976).