By Peter King
April 27, 2010

Scott Sicko, the University of New Hampshire tight end who gained Internet fame and infamy for turning down five free-agent NFL contract offers Saturday to pursue post-graduate education, has had a change of heart. He signed a contract Tuesday with the Dallas Cowboys.

"What can I say?" Sicko told me today from the UNH campus. "I changed my mind. I got very comfortable with the Cowboys over the last couple of days. And I made a compromise with myself."

Sicko was a Division I-FCS first team All-America tight end after his 55-catch, nine-touchdown season in New Hampshire last fall. He was considered a late-round prospect in last weekend's NFL draft. The New England Patriots held a private workout with him, and five teams -- the Chargers, Cowboys, Chiefs, Jaguars and Jets -- called him Saturday night with contract offers. But he said he decided late in the seventh round that because he hadn't been drafted, he would rather devote his time and energy to his studies and perhaps earn a masters degree and possibly a Ph.D. to begin a career as a history teacher.

There was nothing complicated about his change of mind, he said -- just a couple of persuasive coaches for the Cowboys. Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and tight ends coach John Garrett both talked to Sicko on several occasions over the past 48 hours and convinced him to give pro football a chance.

"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."

Sicko said if he makes the Cowboys, he will take online classes in either Political Science or History to begin his graduate-school career. If he doesn't make the Cowboys' active roster or practice squad, he'll enroll this fall at one of the grad schools to which he has applied.

I asked Sicko if the deluge of public response on the Internet and from friends inside and outside of football had much to do with his decision. The majority of reaction from readers to the Sicko story in Monday Morning Quarterback thought he was blowing a tremendous opportunity to try out for an NFL team. At the end of the day, Sicko agreed with them.

"I really didn't read about it very much, but friends of mine told me what was out there," Sicko said. "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."

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