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After missing out on a medal, Jeremy Bloom turned his focus to the NFL combine and a career as a wideout and return man

IN EVERY sense, the moguls were behind Jeremy Bloom. Standing with his back to the hill at the moguls venue in Sauze d'Oulx on Feb. 15, Bloom, the former Colorado kick returner--receiver, seemed at peace with his sixth-place finish. While U.S. teammate Toby Dawson took bronze (LIFE OF REILLY, page 86), Bloom bumped himself off the podium with a sketchy landing on the second jump of his final run. That actually came as no surprise: Bloom had not been as sharp in the run-up to these Games as he was in the 2005 season, during which he won six straight World Cup events and the overall championship.

"It was a great day," he said. "I can't allow one mistake to ruin that." Then he pulled off his competitor's bib and slipped on an Under Armour T-shirt, remarking, "I'm transitioning before your eyes." The next week he was planning to participate in the NFL combine. "After what you go through mentally up there," the 23-year-old Bloom said, motioning toward the mountain, "the combine is going to feel like a middle school field day."

Although he hasn't played a football game in 27 months, the 5'9" Bloom worked out last summer with other draft prospects. Interest has intensified since his agent, Gary Wichard, sent a DVD with each of Bloom's five touchdown plays of 75 yards or more to every NFL team. At the Senior Bowl, says Wichard, "every G.M., every decision maker I spoke with, wanted to know about Jeremy."



BUMPY RIDE Bloom's run to a sixth-place finish likely will be his last as a competitive skier.