A freshman at Pittsburgh-Titusville, Michael Bamiro sat in front of the TV on fall Saturdays nearly five years ago and had a thought.
“In college, sitting there watching Pitt play… everyone around me, they were all Pittsburgh fans,” Bamiro said. “Seeing myself, I’m just as big as these guys playing. I feel like I can do some of the things that they can do. That really pushed me to say I want to go back and play football. This is something that I can do. I know I can do this.”
And so the roundabout journey began. Bamiro had to sit out a year before joining the Stony Brook program, where he played three seasons. The plan was to play a fourth, but the NCAA ruled that his first year at Pittsburgh-Titusville counted against his eligibility. The problem? The final ruling came down a few weeks ago, nearly three months after the draft.
“At the time, it was very disappointing,” Bamiro said. “It was really disappointing to not be able to play college football. Up until the first week of July, I was training to be a college athlete. I was ready to be a Stony Brook athlete, a Seawolf. But things had to change… I just kept it moving. And now I’m ready to play professional football.”
An obvious question is: Why didn’t Bamiro play football in college right after high school?
He’s currently listed at 6-8 and weighed in at 339 pounds on Monday. But that wasn’t the case five years ago. Sure, he was 6-6, but the Eagles’ new offensive tackle said he weighed 380 pounds.
“I have nobody to blame but myself, really,” Bamiro said. “I did not put forth the best effort I could in high school. Sometimes I wish I could change that, but everything happens for a reason, and I’m in the spot that I’m in now because I worked through college.
“I lost that weight over a period of my college career. The more that I was working into the system, the more that I was playing, the more that I got focused on, ‘I need to cut this weight, I need to get my body in better shape.’ So over that five-year span is when the weight was cut.”
Bamiro has been working out with Tra Thomas and said he had six or seven teams show interest in him. The Eagles made an effort to get younger at tackle by drafting Lane Johnson fourth overall. But Bamiro is in a situation where he thinks he can grow. Jason Peters is 31. And other than second-year player Dennis Kelly, they don’t have a lot of depth.
Bamiro will have about seven weeks to show he’s worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll continue his journey in a different capacity, potentially on the Eagles’ practice squad.
“They had a lot to offer,” Bamiro said. “The coaches were really enthusiastic for me being here. It felt like they wanted me here, and my agent felt the same way. So it was an easy decision.”