Few players would’ve done what former Pitt defensive end Greg Romeus did around this time last… Few players would’ve done what former Pitt defensive end Greg Romeus did around this time last year.
With a potential early-round draft pick into the National Football League and millions of dollars staring him in the face, Romeus decided to trade all of the fame and money for one more year as a football player at the University of Pittsburgh — and one more chance at an elusive Big East title.
But Romeus’ senior year couldn’t have gone much worse.
The 2009 Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year suffered a back injury at Utah in the first game of the season, an injury that kept him out until the Connecticut game in early November. Then, on the night of his much-anticipated return, Romeus tore his ACL and was officially declared out for the remainder of the season.
“It definitely wasn’t like I planned it,” Romeus said. “But things happen, and it was a year that I learned a lot, matured and went through a lot. I believe everything happens for a reason.”
With his up-and-down tenure as a Pitt football player behind him, Romeus — one of several formal Panthers entering the draft — is currently in his hometown of Miami rehabilitating his knee as he prepares for the 2011 NFL Draft and his rookie season.
NFLDraftScout.com projects Romeus as a fourth-round pick in this April’s draft and as the 14th best defensive end in the 2011 draft class.
“I’ve heard a lot of different things,” Romeus said of his draft stock. “Everyone has their own opinions so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Romeus recorded eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss last season, earning him a spot on three All-American teams.
Despite his injuries, Romeus believes that he has what it takes to become a quality NFL defensive end in the near future.
“I expect to make a big impact. I just had a little bad luck with injuries, but once I’m healthy, I’m confident I can make things happen,” he said.
Romeus said he still talks with his former teammates on a regular basis.
“I keep in touch with quite a few of the guys,” Romeus said. “I’m living in the same building with Jabaal [Sheard] and Dion [Lewis] right now, so we talk with each other quite a bit.”
For a player who had only one season of high school football under his belt before coming to Pitt, Romeus acknowledges he probably wouldn’t be headed to the NFL if it weren’t for the Pitt and the help of the football coaching staff.
“It’s been a great journey,” he said. “I owe a lot to my Pitt coaches for giving me a chance and putting a lot of faith in me over the past couple years. I hope things just keep getting better.”