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Bishop, Simmons ticketed to Europe

by Michael Felgar

The Boston Herald - Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Coming to a television set near you: Michael Bishop on a football field.

After debating the subject for the better part of two years, the Pats and Bishop have agreed to a European vacation. Yesterday, the Pats announced the backup quarterback was one of the 10 players they are allocating to NFL Europe.

There were several surprises on the list, which by league rules had to include at least six names. Others who will be packing bags include receiver Tony Simmons, safety Tony George and cornerback Kato Serwanga. Locals Marc Megna (Fall River) and Sean Morey (Marshfield) will be headed back for a second season.

Bishop has long resisted playing in Europe. Last year, the decision was essentially taken out of his hands when Bill Belichick's coaching staff wanted him to stay in Foxboro to learn the offense. This year, the Pats want Bishop to work on his game, and the former Heisman Trophy runner-up has agreed.

Bishop's primary goal is to get on an NFL team that will give him a better opportunity to play. If he performs well in Europe, Bishop may see his trade value increase.

While the NFL has yet to allocate players to specific European teams, Bishop would be a good fit on Jack Bicknell's Barcelona Dragons. That's where Bishop's favorite target, Morey, played last season. Bicknell also has experience with scrambling quarterbacks, having coached Doug Flutie at Boston College. It's not known if Morey will playing receiver or cornerback.

The list is rounded out by punter Brad Costello (a Boston University product), tackle Josh Rawlings, receiver Tony Hamler and linebacker John Eskridge.

NFL teams have long treated Europe as a developmental league for longshot projects. Veterans with substantive NFL experience like Simmons, George and Serwanga generally don't go to Europe, but the Pats obviously feel they need the work. All three players were in Belichick's doghouse at various times last season.

The European season runs from April 21 to June 30 with training camps set to open March 13.

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