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Tight end Billy Bajema defies the odds in NFL

by Scott Wright Published: June 1, 2009
STILLWATER — Seventh-round draft choices have an average NFL career equal to the lifespan of a house fly, so the fact Oklahoma State product Billy Bajema is preparing for his fifth season in the league is a feat in itself.

After recently signing a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Rams, Bajema is hoping to be a part of a rebuilding project like he was involved in at OSU. This time, it will be with one of the NFL’s worst teams in the aftermath of a 2-14 season in 2008, as well as a coaching change.

"When I got to OSU, they were coming off a three-win season,” said the tight end, who played high school ball at Westmoore. "With the Rams, I saw a good opportunity to come in and try to make a difference. Helping to improve the program at Oklahoma State was a good experience, and I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

Bajema is excited to be closer to home.

"That’s another advantage. It’s only a seven-hour drive. You can’t really go back and forth from San Francisco,” said Bajema, who was drafted by the 49ers and spent his first four years with them. "I really like the atmosphere here in St. Louis. It’s really similar to Oklahoma City.”

Though he accounted for 676 receiving yards in his OSU career, Bajema doesn’t possess the type of skills that get you on SportsCenter. In his NFL career, he has seven catches for 88 yards and no touchdowns, numbers he surpassed in three of his four individual seasons with the Cowboys.

But as a blocking specialist at the tight end position, he has the skills that keep him on NFL general managers’ radars and in good favor with coaches.

Last season, when San Francisco coach Mike Singletary became unhappy with tight end Vernon Davis, a top-10 draft choice, he turned to Bajema for some steady play at the position.

"Everybody on the team had a ton of respect for coach Singletary,” Bajema said.

by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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