Special teamer, backup tight end preparing for life after NFL Print
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Monday, 13 August 2007 12:28
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 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Sitting among the Cadillac Escalades, Mercedes and other luxury vehicles in the Tennessee Titans' parking lot is a 1999 Toyota Corolla. Casey Cramer has had the car since his mother co-signed the loan back in college.
So what if the car, valued at less than $3,000 now, is worth less than the rims on some of his teammates' vehicles? The Dartmouth graduate knows the value of a dollar.
``I'm taking my money and investing my excess,'' Cramer said. ``It's better to invest it than to invest in a depreciating asset, especially when you're paying on a depreciating asset. That's really silly.''
And Cramer, a backup fullback and tight end and key special teams player, also knows that few players make their fortune with long careers in the NFL. He's in his fourth training camp looking to add to a career that has involved 22 games over the past three seasons.
``It's the NFL. The NFL stands for 'Not For Long.' You never really feel secure. You feel like every year you have to go out and prove yourself again and earn a spot,'' Cramer said.
That versatility is why Cramer, originally from Middletown, Wis., keeps sticking around.
After graduating in May 2004 with a degree in psychology, Cramer left the Ivy League as a seventh-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also spent time in training camp that year with the New York Jets before being signed to the Titans' practice squad for 10 weeks.
Carolina signed him to the roster where he played six games, including his lone start at fullback. He spent the first 13 games of 2005 on the Panthers' practice squad before being signed to the active roster and playing in the final eight, including playoffs.
But the Panthers released him in the final cuts last year, and the Titans didn't let him slip by again. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Cramer played in a career-best 15 games and caught his first pass against Miami.
His personal highlight came against Washington in the Titans' first victory of the season. He was chosen AFC special teams player of the week for a team-high three special teams' tackles, recovering a fumble and blocking a punt.
Cramer, who punted at Dartmouth, practiced a few punts last year in case he was needed. Lately, he's been working on long snapping, a skill that can extend an NFL career.
He's also taken advantage of the league's business management courses over the past three offseasons. He has studied at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Stanford.
Linebacker Keith Bulluck became closer with Cramer when both attended the two-week session at Harvard together.
``Sometimes he overworks, which causes him to get pummeled here and there. I think Cramer's a hard worker. He's one of those guys that are willing to get in there and not afraid to get his nose dirty and do what it takes to help a team,'' Bulluck said.
Cramer passed his Series 7 exam this offseason and now can trade securities. He is working to pass his Series 66 to become a certified financial analyst and wants to help other young professionals suddenly dealing with lots of money.
``Everyone understands this is a very lucrative business,'' Cramer said. ``To play here as long as you can is good. I don't think there's any rush for me to go out in the real world at all. I want to make sure I'm set up when it is time; I'll have a direction.''
 

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