If there was ever a player built to personify Chip Kelly‘s ‘big people beat up little people’ philosophy, it’s undrafted rookie free agent offensive lineman Michael Bamiro.
A pre-season All-American, Bamiro was not eligible to compete in his senior season, but did not learn of the NCAA‘s ruling until May, which meant that nobody realized his was eligible for the NFL draft. Because he used up all of his NCAA eligbility, he could not even declare himself eligible for the supplemental draft and was forced to enter the league as a rookie free agent.
Bamiro’s ineligibility traces back to when he enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Pittsburgh-Titusville in 2008. Despite not playing any sports, his five-year eligibility clock with the NCAA began to count down because of his full-time enrollment status.
“There wasn’t even a football team [at Pittsburgh-Titusville], I was just there for an education,” Bamiro explained Monday upon reporting for his first NFL training camp at the Novacare Complex. “When I started my college career I just wanted to start pre-law and get my career going.”
He transferred to Stony Brook in 2009 after getting the itch to return to the football field.
“Sitting at home watching my high school friends play college ball, it made me want to give it a shot to get in and try to play football. I did not get recruited to play football out of high school, but I really wanted to keep it going and eventually that’s why I ended up at Stony Brook.”
Bamiro redshirted in 2009 and believed that he had one final year of eligibility remaining this fall, but because of his stint at Pittsburgh-Titusville, that was not the case.
“At the time it was disappointing not to be able to play college football this fall,” Bamiro admitted. “Up until the first week of July, I was ready to be a collegiate player, but I let God take the wheel and here I am, ready to play professional football in the NFL.”
The Tobyhanna native saw plenty of potential in the Eagles after narrowing his decision of where to play in the NFL to ‘six or seven teams.’
“The Eagles have a new coach, they’re a growing program, it’s close to my hometown,” he explained. “The offensive line looks like it could use a few players. It’s a good place that I can grow here and become a better NFL player.”
It certainly didn’t hurt the Eagles chances of signing Bamiro that he has spent time in recent months working out with former offensive lineman Tra Thomas, along with his agent Billy Conaty, who played in the offensive line. It’s purely coincidence though that he will wear no. 72 this season, as Bamiro pointed out.
With an offensive line that features the likes of All-Pro Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and first-round draft choice Lane Johnson, it may be difficult for Bamiro to see much of the field during his rookie season. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to compete and contribute however Kelly and the team see fit.
“It’s amazing to have this opportunity, but I know that I’m not done,” Bamiro said. “I know that I have a lot more work to do. That I have to keep focusing on the task at hand, to get into the playbook, to play catch up with the guys that are ahead of me and make sure that I put that extra work in to get better as an athlete.”
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