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Heath Hotzler column: Battle eyes a shot at NFL Europe

Steve Battle isn't done, yet. The former Valley City State standout receiver, released by the St. Louis Rams Aug. 24 during training camp, still holds onto the dream of someday walking onto the field as a member of an NFL team.

Steve Battle isn't done, yet. The former Valley City State standout receiver, released by the St. Louis Rams Aug. 24 during training camp, still holds onto the dream of someday walking onto the field as a member of an NFL team.

He's willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Even learn a second language.

Battle, who holds almost every VCSU career receiving record, is expected to be allocated by the Rams to NFL Europe next year.

"I kind of figured it was going to happen," Battle said. "They want to get me some experience, to get me some playing time."

After leaving the Rams, Battle returned to Valley City State to complete his sports management degree. He's keeping in shape by helping former coach Dennis McCulloch with VCSU's receivers.

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"I'm not really a coach," Battle said. "I'm just giving them some of the tips that the Rams told me, stuff I wish someone would've told me."

When he graduates, Battle plans to train in California until February's NFL Europe tryouts in Tampa, Fla.

He knows it's a long road from NFL Europe to the bright lights of the NFL. But it has been done before.

Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, a former NFL MVP, and Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri played for Amsterdam, Vikings tight end Byron Chamberlain played for Rhein and Cowboys All-Pro defensive tackle La'Roi Glover played for Barcelona.

More recently, former Vikings wide receiver Matthew Hatchette parlayed a successful NFL Europe season into a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hatchette, cut by the New York Jets two years ago, led the league with 61 receptions for 790 yards and seven touchdowns last year.

So it can be done.

"I'm going to go in and do the best I can," Battle said.

Vickerman breaks record

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Concordia senior defensive back Josh Vickerman set the school's career record for interceptions during the Cobbers' 42-28 victory against Minnesota State Moorhead.

Vickerman's second-quarter interception of Dragon quarterback Jon Frykman was the 12th of his four-year career, breaking a tie with former Cobber standouts Stuart Lang (1992-95) and Terry Storm (1986-89).

"He's as good a defensive back as we've ever had," Concordia coach Terry Horan said. "It's just great to see him get that record with everything that he's been through and how hard he works. He's truly a coach's dream."

Vickerman, from Alexandria, Minn., needed just two full seasons to break the record. He had seven last season and four as sophomore, but none as a freshman and junior.

Vickerman, an all-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection last season, was given an extra year of eligibility after suffering a knee injury during the first game of his junior year.

"We're pretty happy he's in maroon and gold," Horan said. "That's for sure."

Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562

or hhotzler@forumcomm.com

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