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Football: Eagles give Sampy shot

Football: Eagles give Sampy shot

Football: Eagles give Sampy shot

Ex-Carencro, UL standout hopes for best in Philly.

Bruce Brown

By most measurements, Bill Sampy is one of the best wide receivers in Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun history.
Now he’ll get the chance to prove himself against the best in the business after signing a free agent contract on Monday with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia, which parted ways with mercurial star Terrell Owens midway through the 2005 season, selected two receivers on Sunday in the NFL Draft.

The Eagles chose Michigan’s Jason Avant in the fourth round and former Colorado standout Jeremy Bloom – coming off a second career as a ski star – in Round 5. They quickly added Sampy to the mix after the selection process was finished.
"I was waiting on a call on Sunday," Sampy said. "I was not expected to go on Saturday (rounds 1-3). Jacksonville said they thought about picking me in the fifth round, and if not they would sign me as a priority free agent. And Green Bay drafted three receivers.

"I felt my options were better with Philadelphia. They released Terrell Owens and cut Todd Pinkston. They have five wide receivers on the roster, and two of them are playing in (NFL) Europe. They drafted two, and then there’s me.

"It looks like they’ll go to camp with 10 receivers and keep six."

Sampy finished his Cajun career with 155 receptions (No. 4 in UL history) for 1,988 yards (No. 5) and nine touchdowns. His best season was 2004, when he caught 57 passes for 776 yards and six scores.

The numbers dropped in 2005 for a couple of reasons.

Sampy was suspended by UL head coach Rickey Bustle after an arrest on drug charges and sat out the season opener at Texas.

Then, as the season progressed, the Cajuns relied heavily on their ground game and won their last five games for a 6-5 finish and the championship of the Sun Belt Conference. Sampy had a career-low 29 catches, but didn’t seem to mind.

"I’ve put that (arrest and suspension) behind me," he said. "It was a big mistake and I learned from it. My mom and dad have been married 34 years and they didn’t raise me to be that way.

"One thing I realized about coach Bustle, and that is that he was not only a coach but a friend to me. (Receivers) coach (Brian) Crist, too. The coaches and the University helped me out a lot."

"I’m really proud of Bill," Bustle said. "He has worked really hard in our program. He’s a player I trusted. He took his discipline, never squawked. He did what he had to do, and I knew he would do that. His senior year, we didn’t throw the ball that much, but he was nothing but a team player about it."

"I’m not a selfish player," said Sampy, a star at Carencro High in his prep days. "I got myself a (championship) ring, something I hadn’t had before. So it all worked out for the best."

After that final campaign, Sampy received his degree in December and promptly tried his hand at all-star games to gain the attention of the NFL.

"Actually," he said, "my agent got me involved in those all-star games. Before I went, I got very little hype. The first one was the Magnolia Bowl (in Jackson, Miss.) and there were maybe 10-12 scouts there."

Sampy caught a 40-yard touchdown pass in that game and opened some eyes.

"That went well," he said, "so I was invited to another game in Las Vegas. All 32 teams had scouts at that one, and I had interviews with nine teams."

The Eagles didn’t have an interview with Sampy that week, but had maintained interest up until and through last weekend’s Draft.

"I’m excited for him," Bustle said. "I’m proud and happy that he has the opportunity to try it at the next level."


Season Rec. Yards Avg. TD

2002 30 327 10.9 0

2003 39 486 12.5 3

2004 57 776 13.6 6

2005 29 399 13.8 0

Totals 155 1988 12.8 9

4th in career receptions at UL.

5th in career receiving yardage at UL.

Led Cajuns in receiving in 2004 and 2005. Was second to Fred Stamps in 2003.

Second-team All-Sun Belt selection in 2004.

Originally published May 2, 2006