Receivers impress at Bomber camp

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

They are the long and the short of it at Blue Bomber rookie camp.

Six-foot-six Aaron Fairooz and 5-foot-8ish Dan Sheldon were the two busiest, and most impressive, receivers on Day 2, hauling in passes all over the field.

They're at opposite ends of the career spectrum, too, Fairooz in his first pro training camp, Sheldon probably his last.

The diminutive speedster has bounced around the NFL, Europe, even the Arena League, but hasn't found a place to stick since leaving college in 2004.

"This is the last shot that I've got," Sheldon, a 26-year-old product of Northern Illinois, said yesterday. "It was a long road, and I thought it might be over. And I got this last opportunity. So this is all a bonus for me."

Sheldon, generously listed at 5-foot-11, doesn't try to deceive anyone about what's been holding him back as a pro: an inability to stay healthy.

"It has towards the end of my career," he began. "Actually I've been hurt all along my career, I'm not going to lie. Dislocated my elbow, collarbone, some small hamstring strains. All within the last year. It was enough that when you're competing, it gives guys an opportunity to take your spot."

Here, with a knee injury keeping Milt Stegall out of camp, players like Sheldon, also a dynamic punt returner in college, have an opportunity.

"I guess he's a legend up here," Sheldon said of No. 85. "I've learned that very quickly. I didn't know the meaning of his name until I came in here, and started seeing it everywhere. And everyone's like, 'He's the man, the guy. Every receiver's idol up here.' It'll be interesting to meet him."

Fairooz wasn't quite as versed in all things Milt. At least, at first.

"I've never really heard of that name," the tall Texas native began, before recovering, somewhat. "Oh, yeah. I just know he's been playing here for some time now."

A product of Central Arkansas, Fairooz towers over defensive backs trying to cover him.

"Obviously being 6-foot-6, I can go up and get the ball," he said. "I have a big frame, so I'm stronger than some of the guys out there. I can run by people. I've been told a lot I might not look like I'm running fast, and then I'm by them."

Head coach Doug Berry noticed.

"You might just think he's a loper, as he lumbers down the field," Berry said. "But he's quite light-footed, for a guy that big. He's got great body control."

Berry said he was impressed with his entire rookie receiving crop, and expects them to push the vets when they report on the weekend.


Videos

Photos